Strength training and assessment of vascular structure, function, and biomarkers for atherosclerosis in women.
Obesity is epidemic in the United States and is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) (41), cardiovascular disease (CVD) (25), and coronary artery disease (CAD) (3). Impaired endothelial function is also associated with obesity (Brook et al. 2001) and may be one mechanism by which obesity promotes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease; however the specific mechanisms linking obesity to CVD have yet to be clarified. Strength Training for Obesity Prevention (STOP trial) is a two year randomized controlled resistance training intervention trial in which the effects of resistance training on age associated fat gains (total and visceral abdominal) are being examined in sedentary young and middle aged (25--44 yr), overweight or obese (body mass index (BMI) 25--35 kg/ m2) women compared to a 'standard care' control group. The present thesis will use data from a subset of SHE trial participants to examine the relationship between obesity and endothelial function, the effects of a one-year resistance training program on vascular structure and function, and the effects of a one-year resistance training program on blood biomarkers of atherosclerotic development. We hypothesize that a regular resistance training program will result in positive changes in vascular structure and function as well as improve circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules. The results of these investigations may provide information on the mechanistic link between elevated body mass and adiposity and risk for CVD. We propose to assess changes in vascular endothelial function, carotid artery intima-media thickness and plasma levels of specific biomarkers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, intercellular adhesion molecule-l, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) associated with CVD, in response to a one-year resistance training program.