Implications of habitual endurance and resistance exercise for dynamic cerebral autoregulation

Blake G Perry, James D Cotter, Stephanie Korad, Sally Lark, Lawrence Labrecque, Patrice Brassard, Myriam Paquette, Olivier Le Blanc, Sam Lucas

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New Findings: What is the central question of this study? Does habitual resistance and endurance exercise modify dynamic cerebral autoregulation? What is the main finding and its importance? To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to directly assess dynamic cerebral autoregulation in resistance-trained individuals, and potential differences between exercise training modalities. Forced oscillations in blood pressure were induced by repeated squat–stands, from which dynamic cerebral autoregulation was assessed using transfer function analysis. These data indicate that dynamic cerebral autoregulatory function is largely unaffected by habitual exercise type, and further document the systemic circulatory effects of regular exercise. Abstract: Regular endurance and resistance exercise produce differential but desirable physiological adaptations in both healthy and clinical populations. The chronic effect of these different exercise modalities on cerebral vessels’ ability to respond to rapid changes in blood pressure (BP) had not been examined. We examined dynamic cerebral autoregulation (dCA) in 12 resistance-trained (mean ± SD, 25 ± 6 years), 12 endurance-trained (28 ± 9 years) and 12 sedentary (26 ± 6 years) volunteers. The dCA was assessed using transfer function analysis of forced oscillations in BP vs. middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCAv), induced via repeated squat–stands at 0.05 and 0.10 Hz. Resting BP and MCAv were similar between groups (interaction: both P ≥ 0.544). The partial pressure of end-tidal carbon dioxide (P ETCO2) was unchanged (P = 0.561) across squat–stand manoeuvres (grouped mean for absolute change +0.6 ± 2.3 mmHg). Gain and normalized gain were similar between groups across all frequencies (both P ≥ 0.261). Phase showed a frequency-specific effect between groups (P = 0.043), tending to be lower in resistance-trained (0.63 ± 0.21 radians) than in endurance-trained (0.90 ± 0.41, P = 0.052) and -untrained (0.85 ± 0.38, P = 0.081) groups at slower frequency (0.05 Hz) oscillations. Squat–stands induced mean arterial pressure perturbations differed between groups (interaction: P = 0.031), with greater changes in the resistance (P < 0.001) and endurance (P = 0.001) groups compared with the sedentary group at 0.05 Hz (56 ± 13 and 49 ± 11 vs. 35 ± 11 mmHg, respectively). The differences persisted at 0.1 Hz between resistance and sedentary groups (49 ± 12 vs. 33 ± 7 mmHg, P < 0.001). These results indicate that dCA remains largely unaltered by habitual endurance and resistance exercise with a trend for phase to be lower in the resistance exercise group at lower fequencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1780-1789
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number12
Early online date22 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • dynamic cerebral autoregulation
  • habitual exercise


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