Chinese herbal medicine, physical exercise, and vascular function
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Inflammation has been implicated the potential mechanism in pathogenesis of vascular dysfunction and acute unaccustomed exercise-induced inflammatory response was found associated with increase in central arterial stiffness. This dissertation first evaluated the significance of exercise-induced transient arterial stiffening by comparing different exercise models and we found downhill running exercise was able to elicit higher systemic inflammatory response than local eccentric resistance exercise, thus, prolonged the arterial stiffening effects in the following days. In addition, such stiffening effects did not result in significant changes in hemodynamic wave reflection on both exercise modes. Next, we studied the effects of short-term Chinese herb supplementation, panax ginseng and salvia miltiorrhiza, prior to downhill running exercise on preserving vascular functions. Measurements were compared in the herb and placebo groups by using a double-blinded randomized design. Our results demonstrated that the Chinese herb effectively attenuated the increase in arterial stiffness. Furthermore, a long-term supplementation with eccentric resistance exercise training also using double-blinded design was investigated to understand whether chronic eccentric training would result in elevated arterial stiffness and whether Chinese herb could also attenuate the adverse effects if any. Our data showed long-term weekly eccentric training did not impair vascular function and supplementation appeared to attenuate the hypertrophic effects induced by exercise, but did not affect anti-oxidant status after intervention. In conclusion, we found the extent to which eccentric exercise induce arterial stiffening was inflammatory response-dependent, and panax ginseng and salvia miltiorrhiza supplementation appears to be effective in preserving vascular function in acute exercise model by lowering pro-inflammatory response following exercise, whereas the effects of long-term supplementation did not support our hypothesis, which requires more intervention studies to investigate its effectiveness and potential adverse effects on skeletal metabolism.