Brachial artery modifications to blood flow-restricted handgrip training and detraining

Low load resistance training with blood flow restriction (BFR) can increase muscle size and strength, but the implications on the conduit artery are uncertain. We examined the effects of low-load dynamic handgrip training with and without BFR, and detraining, on measures of brachial artery function and structure. Nine male participants (26 ± 4 yr, 178 ± 3 cm, 78 ± 10 kg) completed 4 wk (3 days/wk) of dynamic handgrip training at 40% 1 repetition maximum (1RM). In a counterbalanced manner, one forearm trained under BFR (occlusion cuff at 80 mmHg) and the other under nonrestricted (CON) conditions. Brachial artery function [flow-mediated dilation (FMD)] and structure (diameter) were assessed using Doppler ultrasound. Measurements were made before training (pretraining), after training (posttraining), and after 2-wk no training (detraining). Brachial artery diameter at rest, in response to 5-min ischemia (peak diameter), and ischemic exercise (maximal diameter) increased by 3.0%, 2.4%, and 3.1%, respectively, after BFR training but not after CON. FMD did not change at any time point in either arm. Vascular measures in the BFR arm returned to baseline after 2 wk detraining with no change after CON. The data demonstrate that dynamic low-load handgrip training with BFR induced transient adaptations to conduit artery structure but not function. Copyright © 2012 the American Physiological Society.