Exercise capacity and brain natruiretic peptide in hypertension

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    Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is increased and it is also released during exercise in hypertension, but its biologic role is unclear. However, since BNP is released from the left ventricule and it is known to reduce left ventricular filling pressure, it is possible that it exerts a favorable effect on exercise performance. We studied the relationship between endogenous BNP release and exercise capacity in hypertension with reference to left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Cardiopulmonary exercise study was carried out in 2 groups of hypertensives, 24 [16 men, aged 50 (SD 11) years] of whom had echocardiographic LVH and 25 [16 men, aged 41 ( 12)] who did not have LVH. In multiple regression analyses, the major determinants of peak oxygen uptake (VO max) were age (-), sex (male), peak exercise systolic BP (+) and post-exercise BNP (-). For the predicted adjusted %VO max as a measure of individualised exercise capacity, the significant predictors were the exercise-induced BNP rise (-) (p = 0.0003) and peak exercise systolic BP (+) (p = 0.001). In other words, subjects with greater myocardial dysfunction had a greater rise in BNP during exercise. LVH did not however relate to exercise capacity. The baseline, post-exercise and the % rise in BNP (pmol/L) with exercise were not statistically different in those with LVH compared with those without (median values of 11.2, 14.6 and 133% versus 10.6, 11.5 and 120% respectively). Similarly, there were no significant differences in exercise capacity between the groups: exercise time, oxygen uptakes at ventilatory threshold and at peak exercise (VO max) were 10.8 (2.5) min, 15.8 (4.6) and 33.6 (7.6) ml/min/kg in the LVH group against 11.4 (2.9) min, 18.6 (5.2) and 36 (11.1) ml/min/kg in the non-LVH group respectively. The estimated VO max was not different from that predicted from age, sex, weight and height in either group suggesting preserved exercise capacity in these subjects as a whole. In Conclusion, BNP may potentially act as a homeostatic mechanism that helps to limit exercise incapacity in hypertension irrespective of LVH.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)519-527
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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