Aging causes arterial stiffening which can be mitigated by increased physical activity. Although low circulating levels of salusin-α are associated with cardiovascular disease, whether salusin-α decreases with aging and whether the reduced arterial stiffening occurring with exercise training is associated with increased serum salusin-α is unknown. Herein we assessed carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures in a cross-sectional study that compared young (20-39-year-old, n=45) versus middle-aged and older (40-80-year-old, n=60) subjects. We also performed an interventional study in which 36 young and 40 middle-aged and older subjects underwent eight weeks of aerobic exercise training. In the cross-sectional study, serum salusin-α levels were lesser in middle-aged and older subjects compared to young individuals and negatively correlated with age, SBP, DBP, or cfPWV. In the interventional study, exercise training increased serum salusin-α in middle-aged and older subjects. Notably, negative correlations were noted between the exercise training-induced changes in serum salusin-α and cfPWV, SBP and DBP. Results indicate that advanced age associates with low circulating salusin-α, the levels of which can be augmented by exercise training. Importantly, increased serum salusin-α with exercise correlates with improvements in arterial stiffness and a reduction in blood pressure.
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