Studies of Twin Responses to Understand Exercise THerapy (STRUETH): cerebrovascular function

Hannah J. Thomas, Channa E. Marsh, Katrina J. Scurrah, Louise H. Naylor, Kurt J. Smith, Daniel J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Abstract: We studied monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs following resistance (RES) and endurance (END) training to assess genetic and environmental contributions to cerebrovascular function. Cerebrovascular function (rest, autoregulation, hypercapnia, exercise) was assessed in 86 healthy same-sex MZ (30 pairs) and DZ (13 pairs) twins, who underwent 3 months of END and RES. Carbon dioxide ((Formula presented.)), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv) were measured and MCAv resistance (MCACVRi) was calculated. Resting MCAv reduced by −2.8 cm/s following RES (P = 0.024), with no change following END (−0.3 cm/s, P = 0.758). Change in MCACVRi following RES was +0.11 mmHg/cm/s (P < 0.001), which was significantly greater than END (+0.02 mmHg/cm/s, P = 0.030). MAP also increased following RES (+4 mmHg, P = 0.010), but not END (+1 mmHg, P = 0.518). No changes were apparent in (Formula presented.). At rest, positive response rates following RES ranged from 27 to 71% and from 40 to 64% following END. Intraclass correlations between twins were moderate for most variables at baseline. In response to training, only MZ pairs were significantly correlated for a change in MCAv (P = 0.005) and low frequency phase (P = 0.047) following RES.This study is the first to compare cerebrovascular function following RES and END in MZ and DZ twins. Most individuals who did not respond to one modality were able to respond by switching modality, and baseline heritability estimates were higher than training response. Exercise professionals should therefore consider modality and environmental factors when optimising interventions. Key points: Characterising individual responses to resistance and endurance exercise training can inform optimal strategies for exercise prescription. This study utilised monozygotic and dizygotic twins in a randomised cross-over study to determine individual responsiveness to different modalities of exercise training. The influence of environment vs. genetics on cerebrovascular responses to training was determined. It is apparent that individuals respond differently to distinct exercise stimuli and that switching modality may be a beneficial way to obtain positive responses in cerebrovascular function. This study has implications for improving individualised exercise prescription to maintain or improve cerebrovascular structure and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2729-2746
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number11
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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