Sympathoadrenergic mechanisms in reduced hemodynamic stress responses after exercise

Kimberly A. Brownley, Alan L. Hinderliter, Sheila G. West, Susan S. Girdler, Andrew Sherwood, Kathleen C. Light

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61 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examines the acute effects of moderate aerobic exercise on 1) hemodynamic and sympathetic activity during behavioral stress and 2) β-adrenergic receptor responsivity in a biracial sample of 24 sedentary adults. Methods: Before and after exercise, blood pressure (BP), impedance-derived cardiovascular measures, and plasma norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (EPI) were assessed during mental arithmetic and active speech tasks, and β-adrenergic receptor responsivity was assessed using a standard isoproterenol challenge procedure. Results: After exercise, BP, NE, and EPI responses to stress were reduced (0.0001 < P < 0.08), preejection period (PEP) was elongated (P < 0.0001), and β1- and β2-receptor responsivity (P < 0.02) was enhanced. Approximately 65% of the prepost exercise mean arterial pressure response difference could be accounted for by changes in sympathetic factors, with change in NE and PEP being the single best predictors. Conclusions: Reduced BP responses to stress after acute exercise are strongly linked to a decrease in sympathetic drive, as evidenced by reduced NE responses and elongation of the PEP. Coincident with this overall dampening of the hemodynamic response to stress, increases in cardiac and vascular β-adrenergic receptor responsivity occur. These findings may have important implications for future translational studies that seek to articulate the mechanisms through which regular aerobic exercise reduces the risks of hypertensive and coronary heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-986
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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