Moderate dose of dietary nitrate improves skeletal muscle microvascular function in patients with peripheral artery disease


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an atherosclerotic disease characterized by compromised lower-extremity blood flow that impairs walking ability. We showed that a moderate dose of dietary nitrate in the form of beetroot juice (BRJ, 0.11 mmol/kg) can improve macrovascular function and maximal walking distance in patients with PAD. However, its impacts on the microcirculation and autonomic nervous system have not been examined. Therefore, we investigated the impacts of this dose of dietary nitrate on skeletal muscle microvascular function and autonomic nervous system function and further related these measurements to 6-min walking distance, pain-free walking distance, and exercise recovery in patients with PAD. Patients with PAD (n = 10) ingested either BRJ or placebo in a randomized crossover design. Heart rate variability, skeletal muscle microvascular function, and 6-min walking distance were performed pre- and post-BRJ and placebo. There were significant group × time interactions (P textless 0.05) for skeletal muscle microvascular function, 6-min walking distance, and exercise recovery, but no changes (P textgreater 0.05) in heart rate variability or pain-free walking distance were noted. The BRJ group demonstrated improved skeletal muscle microvascular function (∆ 22.1 ± 7.5 %·min−1), longer 6-min walking distance (Δ 37.5 ± 9.1 m), and faster recovery post-exercise (Δ −15.3 ± 4.2 s). Furthermore, changes in skeletal muscle microvascular function were positively associated with changes in 6-min walking distance (r = 0.5) and pain-free walking distance (r = 0.6). These results suggest that a moderate dose of dietary nitrate may support microvascular function, which is related to improvements in walking distance and claudication in patients with PAD.

Microvascular Research