Endothelial dysfunction, manifesting as attenuated flow-mediated dilation (FMD), is clinically important. Antioxidants may prevent this dysfunction; however, the acute effects of oral administration in humans are unknown. Low flow-mediated constriction (L-FMC), a further parameter of endothelial health, is largely unstudied and the mechanisms for this response unclear.
Twelve healthy participants (five women and seven men) completed three test conditions: control; antioxidant cocktail (α-lipoic acid, vitamins C and E); and prostaglandin inhibitor ingestion (ibuprofen). Ultrasound measurements of brachial artery responses were assessed throughout 5 min of forearm ischemia and 3 min after. Subsequently, an ischemia–reperfusion injury was induced by a 20-min upper arm occlusion. Further, vascular function protocols were completed at 15, 30, and 45 min of recovery.
Endothelial dysfunction was evident in all conditions. FMD was attenuated at 15 min after ischemia–reperfusion injury (Pre: 6.24 ± 0.58%; Post15: 0.24 ± 0.75%; mean ± SD, P < 0.05), but recovered by 45 min. Antioxidant administration did not preserve FMD compared with control ( P > 0.05). The magnitude of L-FMC was augmented at 15 min (Pre: 1.44 ± 0.27%; Post15: 3.75 ± 1.73%; P < 0.05) and recovered by 45 min. Ibuprofen administration produced the largest constrictive response (Pre: −1.13 ± 1.71%; Post15: −5.57 ± 3.82%; time × condition interaction: P < 0.05).
Results demonstrate ischemia–reperfusion injury causes endothelial dysfunction and acute oral antioxidant supplementation fails to reduce its magnitude. Our results also suggest that a lack of shear stress during occlusion combined with suppression of prostaglandin synthesis magnifies L-FMC, possibly due to augmented endothelin-1 expression.