The functional implications of serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a marker of oxidative stress, on hemodynamic parameters at rest and during physical exertion are unclear. The aims of this investigation were to examine the independent associations of TNF-α on myocardial oxygen demand at rest and during submaximal exercise, while also evaluating the association of TNF-α on exercise tolerance. Forty, postmenopausal women, provided blood samples and completed a modified-Balke protocol to measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). Large artery compliance was measured by pulse contour analyses while rate-pressure product (RPP), an index of myocardial oxygen demand, was measured at rest and during two submaximal workloads (i.e., ≈55% and ≈75% VO2max). RPP was calculated by dividing the product of heart rate and systolic blood pressure (via auscultation) by 100. Exercise tolerance corresponded with the cessation of the graded exercise test. During higher-intensity exertion, ≈75% VO2max, multiple linear regression revealed a positive association (r = 0.43; p = 0.015) between TNF-α and RPP while adjusting for maximal heart rate, VO2max, large artery compliance, and percent body fat. Path analyses revealed a significant indirect effect of large artery compliance on exercise tolerance through TNF-α, β = 0.13, CI [0.03, 0.35], indicating greater levels of TNF-α associated with poorer exercise tolerance. These data suggest TNF-α independently associates with myocardial oxygen demand during physical exertion, thus highlighting the utility of higher-intensity efforts to expose important phenomena not apparent at rest. TNF-α also appears to be indirectly associated with the link between large artery compliance and exercise tolerance.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in International Journal of Exercise Science, v. 11, issue 2, p. 42-54.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Funding Information

This project was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grants: R01AG027084-01, R01AG27084-04S1, P30DK56336, P60DK079626, and UL1RR025777