Effects of a 12-week alpine skiing intervention on endothelial progenitor cells, peripheral arterial tone and endothelial biomarkers in the elderly

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • David Niederseer
  • Eva Steidle-Kloc
  • Matthias Mayr
  • Edith E Müller
  • Janne Cadamuro
  • Wolfgang Patsch
  • Dela, Flemming
  • Erich Müller
  • Josef Niebauer

OBJECTIVE: Endothelial dysfunction occurs early during atherogenesis and it can be normalized by exercise training. Unfortunately, patients' compliance with exercise prescription remains low, often because the given choices do not appeal to them. In Alpine regions, skiing is a popular mode of exercise, and therefore we set out to assess whether it can induce antiatherogenic effects.

METHODS: We randomized 42 subjects into a group of 12weeks of guided skiing (intervention group, IG, n=22; 12 males/10 females; age: 66.6±2.1years) or a control group (CG, n=20; 10 males/10 females; age: 67.3±4.4years). Early (CD3-CD34+CD45+) and late endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs; CD45dimCD34+KDR+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells, PBMCs), peripheral arterial tonometry and endothelial biomarkers were assessed at the beginning and end of the study.

RESULTS: In the IG, participants completed 28.5±2.6 skiing days at an average heart rate of 72.7±8.5% of their maximum heart rate. Changes in early (IG: +0.001±0.001% PBMC; CG: -0.001±0.001% PBMC; IG vs. CG: p<0.001) but not late EPCs differed significantly. Changes in peripheral arterial tone differed significantly between IG (Reactive Hyperemia Index: +0.18±0.76) and CG (-0.39±0.85; p=0.045), as did homocysteine (IG: -1.3±1.3μmol/l; CG: -0.4±1.4μmol/l; p=0.037) while other endothelial biomarkers remained essentially unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that skiing induces several beneficial effects on markers of atherogenesis including EPCs, peripheral arterial tone and homocysteine. Our findings suggest that recreational alpine skiing may serve as a further mode of preventive exercise training, which might result in improved compliance with current recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Pages (from-to)343-347
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

ID: 167804880