Expansion of the capillary network, or angiogenesis, occurs following endurance training. This process, which is reliant on the presence of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), is an adaptation to a chronic mismatch between oxygen demand and supply. Patients with IC (intermittent claudication) experience pain during exercise associated with an inadequate oxygen delivery to the muscles. Therefore the aims of the present study were to examine the plasma VEGF response to acute exercise, and to establish whether exercise training alters this response in patients with IC. In Part A, blood was collected from patients with IC (n=18) before and after (+20 and +60 min post-exercise) a maximal walking test to determine the plasma VEGF response to acute exercise. VEGF was present in the plasma of patients (45.11±29.96 pg/ml) and was unchanged in response to acute exercise. Part B was a training study to determine whether exercise training altered the VEGF response to acute exercise. Patients were randomly assigned to a treatment group (TMT; n=7) that completed 6 weeks of high-intensity treadmill training, or to a control group (CON; n=6). All patients completed a maximal walking test before and after the intervention, with blood samples drawn as for Part A. Training had no effect on plasma VEGF at rest or in response to acute exercise, despite a significant increase in maximal walking time in the TMT group (915±533 to 1206±500 s; P=0.009) following the intervention. The absence of a change in plasma VEGF may reflect altered VEGF binding at the endothelium, although this cannot be confirmed by the present data.

You do not currently have access to this content.