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Purpose: Exercise training induces adaptation in conduit and resistance arteries in humans, partly as a consequence of repeated elevation in blood flow and shear stress. The stimuli associated with intrinsic cutaneous microvascular adaptation to exercise training have been less comprehensively studied. Methods: We studied 14 subjects who completed 8-weeks cycle ergometer training, with partial cuff inflation on one forearm to unilaterally attenuate cutaneous blood flow responses during each exercise-training bout. Before and after training, bilateral forearm skin microvascular dilation was determined using cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC: skin flux/blood pressure) responses to gradual localised heater disk stimulation performed at rest (33, 40, 42 and 44 °C). Results: Cycle exercise induced significant increases in forearm cutaneous flux and temperature, which were attenuated in the cuffed arm (2-way ANOVA interaction-effect; P < 0.01). We found that forearm CVC at 42 and 44 °C was significantly lower in the uncuffed arm following 8-weeks of cycle training (P < 0.01), whereas no changes were apparent in the contralateral cuffed arm (P = 0.77, interaction-effect P = 0.01). Conclusions: Lower limb exercise training in healthy young men leads to lower CVC-responses to a local heating stimulus, an adaptation mediated, at least partly, by a mechanism related to episodic increases in skin blood flow and/or skin temperature.
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