OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) reflecting arterial stiffness and the levels of novel hepatokines fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) and fetuin-A. In addition, we evaluated the effect of a 3-month combined aerobic and resistance exercise programme on FGF21 and fetuin-A levels as well as arterial stiffness in obese women. METHODS: Forty nondiabetic, obese women (body mass index = 27.6 +/- 2.4 kg/m(2) ) were included in the study and were compared before and after a 3-month exercise programme, which was composed of 45 min of aerobic exercise at an intensity of 60-75% of the age-predicted maximum heart rate (300 kcal/session) and 20 min of resistance training (100 kcal/session) five times a week. All exercise sessions were supervised by a professional exercise physiologist. RESULTS: At baseline, baPWV levels were correlated with age, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), high density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting glucose and serum FGF21 levels. In a multiple stepwise regression analysis using baPWV as a dependent variable, baPWV levels were associated with age, BMI, SBP, FGF21 and fetuin-A levels (R(2) = 0.744). After the exercise programme, BMI, waist circumference, SBP, diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels were significantly decreased. Moreover, baPWV values were significantly improved (P < 0.001) along with modest decrease in FGF21 levels (P = 0.043). However, fetuin-A levels were not changed significantly (P = 0.202). CONCLUSIONS: A 3-month combined exercise programme decreases the FGF21 levels as well as arterial stiffness in obese Korean women.
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