Sex-related differences in reactivity of cerebral arterioles during moderate exercise training

Denise M. Arrick, Chun Li, William G. Mayhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Our goals were to determine the influence of sex on reactivity of cerebral arterioles and whether MExT could influence sex-related differences in reactivity of cerebral arterioles. Materials and Methods: Responses of cerebral arterioles were measured in Sed and MExT adult male and female Sprague–Dawley rats to eNOS-dependent (ADP), nNOS-dependent (NMDA), and NOS-independent (nitroglycerin) agonists before and following L-NMMA. In addition, protein expression for eNOS and nNOS was determined. Results: NOS-dependent vasodilation was enhanced in Sed and MExT female rats compared to their male counterparts. L-NMMA produced a greater decrease in baseline diameter of arterioles in females compared to males, and produced less inhibition of NOS-dependent vasodilation in females. Expression of eNOS protein was significantly increased in Sed female when compared to Sed male rats; nNOS protein was similar in Sed males and females, but increased in MExT females. Conclusions: The findings from this study indicate that while NOS-dependent vascular reactivity is increased in females, MExT does not alter vasodilation in males or females. These studies provide insights into the influence of sex and MExT on the cerebral microcirculation and may have implications regarding mechanisms that protect the brain in females compared to males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • L-NMMA
  • brain
  • eNOS
  • nNOS
  • nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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