The effect of acute exercise on endothelial function following a high-fat meal

Jaume Padilla, Ryan A. Harris, Alyce D. Fly, Lawrence D. Rink, Janet P. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The transient impairment of endothelial function following a high-fat meal is well established. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) decreases between 2 and 6 h post ingestion. Whether this impairment can be reduced with acute aerobic exercise has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to investigate if a single sustained aerobic exercise session can counteract the postprandial attenuation in brachial artery FMD associated with the ingestion of a high-fat meal. Eight apparently healthy adults (five men, three women), age 25.5 ± 0.8 years, performed three treatment conditions in a counter-balanced design: (1) low-fat meal alone (LFM), (2) high-fat meal alone (HFM), and (3) one session of aerobic exercise presented 2 h after ingesting a high-fat meal (HFM-EX). The examination of brachial artery FMD was performed at baseline and 4 h following the ingestion of the meal for each treatment condition. A 3 × 2 (treatment × time) repeated measures ANOVA exhibited a significant interaction (P = 0.019). Preprandial FMDs were similar (P = 0.863) among all three treatment conditions. The FMDs following the LFM (7.18 ± 1.31%) and HFM-EX (8.72 ± 0.94%) were significantly higher (P = 0.001) than the FMD following the HFM (4.29 ± 1.64%). FMD was significantly elevated above preprandial values following the HFM-EX (5.61 ± 1.54 to 8.72 ± 0.94%, P = 0.005) but was unchanged following the LFM (6.17 ± 0.94 to 7.18 ± 1.31%, P = 0.317) and the HFM (5.73 ± 1.23 to 4.29 ± 1.64%, P = 0.160). These findings suggest that a single aerobic exercise session cannot only counteract the postprandial endothelial dysfunction induced by the ingestion of a high-fat meal, but also increase brachial artery FMD in apparently healthy adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-262
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • High-fat diet
  • Postprandial endothelial dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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