Acute heat exposure protects against endothelial ischemia-reperfusion injury in aged humans

Holden W. Hemingway, Rauchelle E. Richey, Amy M. Moore, Albert H. Olivencia-Yurvati, Geoffrey P. Kline, Steven A. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nonpharmacological therapies that protect against endothelial ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R) remain limited in aged adults. Acute heat exposure protects against endothelial I/R injury in young adults, but its efficacy has never been explored in aged adults. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that acute heat exposure would prevent the attenuation of endothelium-dependent vasodilation after I/R injury in aged adults. Nine (2 men, 69 ± 8 yr) aged adults were exposed to a thermoneutral control condition or whole body passive heating (water-perfused suit) sufficient to increase body core temperature by 1.2_C. Experiments were separated by at least 7 days. Heat exposure was always performed first to time match the thermoneutral control condition. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was assessed via flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery before (pre-I/R) and after I/R injury (post-I/R), which was induced by 20 min of arm ischemia followed by 20 min of reperfusion. Flow-mediated dilation was reduced following I/R injury for the thermoneutral control condition (pre-I/R, 4.5 ± 2.9% vs. post-I/R, 0.9 ± 2.8%, P < 0.01), but was well maintained with prior heat exposure (pre-I/R, 4.4 ± 2.8% vs. post-I/R, 3.5 ± 2.8%, P = 0.5). Taken together, acute heat exposure protects against endothelial I/R injury in aged adults. These results highlight the therapeutic potential of heat therapy to prevent endothelial dysfunction associated with I/R injury in aged adults who are most at risk for an ischemic event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R360-R367
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume322
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • aging
  • endothelium
  • flow-mediated dilation
  • heat exposure
  • ischemia-reperfusion injury

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