To determine whether endurance exercise training can alter the β-adrenergic-stimulated inotropic response in older women, we studied 10 postmenopausal healthy women (65.4 ± 0.9 yr old) who exercised for 11 mo. Left ventricular (LV) function was evaluated with two-dimensional echocardiography during infusion of isoproterenol after atropine. Maximal O2 consumption increased 23% in response to training (from 1.35 ± 0.06 to 1.66 ± 0.07 l/min; P = 0.004). Training had no effect on baseline LV function, end-diastolic diameter, LV wall thickness, or LV mass. The increase in LV systolic function in response to isoproterenol was unaffected by training. Furthermore, neither the systolic shortening-to-end-systolic wall stress relationship nor the end-systolic wall stress-to-end-systolic diameter relationship during isoproterenol infusion changed with training. We conclude that older postmenopausal women can increase their maximal O2 consumption with exercise training without eccentric LV hypertrophy or enhancement of β-adrenergic-mediated LV contractile function. These observations provide an explanation for the finding that maximal cardiac output and stroke volume are not increased in older women in response to training.
- Cardiac function