The Vascular Side of Chronic Bed Rest: When a Therapeutic Approach Becomes Deleterious

Anna Pedrinolla, Alessandro L Colosio, Roberta Magliozzi, Elisa Danese, Emine Kirmizi, Stefania Rossi, Silvia Pogliaghi, Massimiliano Calabrese, Matteo Gelati, Ettore Muti, Emiliano Cè, Stefano Longo, Fabio Esposito, Giuseppe Lippi, Federico Schena, Massimo Venturelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interplay between chronic constraint and advanced aging on blood flow, shear-rate, vascular function, nitric oxide (NO)-bioavailability, microcirculation, and vascular inflammation factors is still a matter of debate. Ninety-eight individuals (Young, n=28, 23±3yrs; Old, n=36, 85±7yrs; Bedridden, n=34, 88±6yrs) were included in the study. The bedridden group included old individuals chronically confined to bed (3.8±2.3yrs). A blood sample was collected and analyzed for plasma nitrate, and vascular inflammatory markers. Hyperemic response (∆peak) during the single passive leg movement (sPLM) test was used to measure vascular function. Skeletal muscle total hemoglobin was measured at the vastus lateralis during the sPLM test, by means of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Bedridden subjects revealed a depletion of plasma nitrates compared with Old (-23.8%) and Young (-31.1%). Blood flow was lower in the Bedridden in comparison to Old (-20.1%) and Young (-31.7%). Bedridden presented lower sPLM ∆peak compared Old (-72.5%) and the Young (-83.3%). ∆peak of NIRS total hemoglobin was lower in the Bedridden compared to that in the Young (-133%). All vascular inflammatory markers except IL-6 were significantly worse in the Bedridden compared to Old and Young. No differences were found between the Old and Young in inflammatory markers. Results of this study confirm that chronic physical constraint induces an exacerbation of vascular disfunction and differential regulation of vascular-related inflammatory markers. The mechanisms involved in these negative adaptations seems to be associated with endothelial dysfunction and consequent diminished NO-bioavailability likely caused by the reduced shear-rate consequential to long-term reduction of physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2020


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