BACKGROUND: High levels of cardiopulmonary fitness (VO2max) are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but little is known to what extent this is related to the effects of cardiopulmonary fitness on atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness. Moreover, the time course of these relationships needs to be elucidated. We sought to investigate (i) the cross-sectional relationship between VO2max and carotid atherosclerosis and carotid and femoral arterial stiffness at age 36, as well as (ii) the relationship between VO2max during adolescence (13-16 years) and the same arterial properties at age 36 (prospective analyses).
DESIGN: Cross-sectional analyses consisted of 351 subjects (183 women) and the prospective analyses of a subpopulation of 154 subjects (79 girls). Arterial properties were assessed noninvasively by ultrasound imaging; VO2max was measured with a maximal running text on a treadmill with direct measurements of oxygen uptake.
RESULTS: After adjustment for confounding by other known risk factors, current and adolescent levels of VO2max were independently associated with carotid intima-media thickness (beta = -0.288, P = 0.004 and beta = -0.381, P = 0.012) in men, and with the diameter of the femoral artery (beta = 0.375, P < 0.001 and beta = 0.252, P = 0.026, respectively) in both sexes. Current levels of VO2max were positively associated with the compliance of the carotid and the femoral arteries (beta = 0.186, P = 0.023 and beta = 0.183, P = 0.033, respectively), and with the distensibility of the carotid (beta = 0.162, P = 0.047) but not the femoral artery.
CONCLUSION: We conclude that cardiopulmonary fitness is associated with large artery properties at age 36, and that the roots of this association may already be present in adolescence.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||European Journal of Clinical Investigation|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2002|