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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2014 Giugno;54(3):298-306

lingua: Inglese

Gender differences in carotid artery intima-media thickness and flow-mediated dilatation in young, physically active adults

Mazurek K. 1, Zmijewski P. 2, Czajkowska A. 3, Lutosławska G. 4

1 Department of Sports Medicine, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland;
2 Department of Physiology, Institute of Sport, Warsaw, Poland;
3 Department of Physiology, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland;
4 Department of Biochemistry, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland


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AIM: The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences (GD) in vascular structure and function and their relations to cardiovascular risk factors (CVD) in young, physically active adults.
METHODS: Sixty-three apparently healthy, physically active adults (34 women, 29 men), aged 20.2±0.9 years, were involved in the study.
RESULTS: Carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) values of both internal carotid (CI) and common carotid arteries (CC) were significantly (P<0.01 and P<0.01) higher in men than in women (0.47±0.05 vs. 0.51±0.07 mm and 0.45±0.07 vs. 0.49±0.07 mm, respectively). In women, CC-IMT was positively correlated with body fat mass, height and body mass; and CI-IMT was inversely correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In men, CI-IMT was positively correlated with body height, diastolic blood pressure and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). Relative values of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) increased in women by 16.6%, in men by 13.7% after a 5-minute period of forearm ischemia, but absolute FMD was similar in men and women, 0.53±0.25 vs. 0.53±0.14 mm, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Values of CC IMT and CI IMT after adjustment to classical CVD risk factors remained strongly diversified with respect to gender, which confirmed the significance of gender as a conditional factor for atherosclerosis assessment. Some GD in vascular structure and function could be eliminated by adjusting for baseline artery diameter and/or subject’s somatic features, i.e., body height. This study supports a need for additional studies focusing on understanding GD in vascular characteristics, which could lead to established better quality reference values and comprehend natural history of CVD in view of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying GD.

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piotr.zmijewski@insp.waw.pl