Oral Antioxidants Improve Leg Blood Flow during Exercise in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, exercise, oxidative stress, oxygen transport


The consequence of elevated oxidative stress on exercising skeletal muscle blood flow as well as the transport and utilization of O2 in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not well understood. The present study examined the impact of an oral antioxidant cocktail (AOC) on leg blood flow (LBF) and O2 consumption during dynamic exercise in 16 patients with COPD and 16 healthy subjects. Subjects performed submaximal (3, 6, and 9 W) single-leg knee extensor exercise while LBF (Doppler ultrasound), mean arterial blood pressure, leg vascular conductance, arterial O2 saturation, leg arterial-venous O2 difference, and leg O2 consumption (direct Fick) were evaluated under control conditions and after AOC administration. AOC administration increased LBF (3 W: 1,604 ± 100 vs. 1,798 ± 128 ml/min, 6 W: 1,832 ± 109 vs. 1,992 ± 120 ml/min, and 9W: 2,035 ± 114 vs. 2,187 ± 136 ml/min, P < 0.05, control vs. AOC, respectively), leg vascular conductance, and leg O2 consumption (3 W: 173 ± 12 vs. 210 ± 15 ml O2/min, 6 W: 217 ± 14 vs. 237 ± 15 ml O2/min, and 9 W: 244 ± 16 vs 260 ± 18 ml O2/min, P < 0.05, control vs. AOC, respectively) during exercise in COPD, whereas no effect was observed in healthy subjects. In addition, the AOC afforded a small, but significant, improvement in arterial O2 saturation only in patients with COPD. Thus, these data demonstrate a novel beneficial role of AOC administration on exercising LBF, O2 consumption, and arterial O2 saturation in patients with COPD, implicating oxidative stress as a potential therapeutic target for impaired exercise capacity in this population.

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American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology