Does altering brachial artery tone with lower-body negative pressure and flow-mediated dilation affect arterial stiffness?
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Although medium sized, muscular vessels normally respond to sympathetic stimulation by reducing compliance, it is unclear whether the large brachial artery is similarly affected by sympathetic stimulation induced via lower-body negative pressure (LBNP). Similarly, the impact of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) on brachial artery compliance and distensibility remains unresolved, hi addition, before such measures can be used as prognostic tools, it is important to investigate the reliability and repeatability of both techniques. Using a randomized order design, the effects of LBNP and FMD on the mechanical properties of the brachial artery were examined in nine healthy male subjects (mean age 24y). Non-invasive Doppler ultrasound and a Finometer were used to measure simultaneously the variation in systolic and diastolic diameter, and brachial blood pressure, respectively. These values were used to calculate compliance and distensibility values at baseline, and during both LBNP and FMD. The within-day and between-day repeatability of arterial diameter, compliance, distensibility, and FMD measures were assessed using the error coefficient and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). While heart rate (P<0.01) and peripheral resistance increased during LBNP (P<0.05), forearm blood flow and pulse pressure decreased (P<0.01). hi terms of mechanical properties, vessel diameters decreased (P<0.05), but both compliance and distensibility were not changed. On the other hand, FMD resulted in a significant increase in diameter (P<0.001), with no change in compliance or distensibility. hi summary, LBNP and FMD do not appear to alter brachial artery compliance or distensibility in young, healthy males. Whereas measures ofFMD were not found to be repeatable between days, the ICC indicated that compliance and distensibility were repeatable only within-day.