To determine the impact of 20 weeks of exercise training in aerobic capacity on left ventricular function and glycemic control in adolescents with and without type 1 diabetes.
Fifty-three adolescents with type 1 diabetes (aged 15.6 years) were divided into two groups: exercise training (n = 38) and nontraining (n = 15). Twenty-two healthy adolescents without diabetes (aged 16.7 years) were included and, with the 38 participants with type 1 diabetes, participated in a 20-week exercise-training intervention. Assessments included VO2max and body composition. Left ventricular parameters were obtained at rest and during acute exercise using MRI.
Exercise training improved aerobic capacity (10%) and stroke volume (6%) in both trained groups, but the increase in the group with type 1 diabetes remained lower than trained control subjects. Increased stroke volume in adolescents with type 1 diabetes resulted from greater left ventricular contractility (9% increase in ejection fraction and an 11% reduction in end-systolic volumes) and, to a lesser extent, improved left ventricular filling (6%), suggesting that impaired diastolic function can be affected by exercise training in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Insulin use decreased by ~10%, but no change in glycemic status was observed.
These data demonstrate that in adolescents, the impairment in left ventricular function seen with type 1 diabetes can be improved, although not normalized, with regular intense physical activity. Importantly, diastolic dysfunction, a common mechanism causing heart failure in older subjects with diabetes, appears to be partially reversible in this age group.