BackgroundBiomechanical remodeling of coronary resistance arteries in physiological left ventricular hypertrophy has not yet been analyzed, and the possible sex differences are unknown.MethodsWistar rats were divided into four groups: male and female sedentary controls (MSe and FSe) and male and female animals undergoing a 12-week intensive swim training program (MEx and FEx). On the last day, the in vitro contractility, endothelium-dependent dilatation, and biomechanical properties of the intramural coronary resistance arteries were investigated by pressure microarteriography. Elastica and collagen remodeling were studied in histological sections.ResultsA similar outer radius and reduced inner radius resulted in an elevated wall to lumen ratio in the MEx and FEx animals compared to that in the sedentary controls. The wall elastic moduli increased in the MEx and FEx rats. Spontaneous and TxA2 agonist-induced tone was increased in the FEx animals, whereas endothelium-dependent relaxation became more effective in MEx rats. Arteries of FEx rats had stronger contraction, while arteries of MEx animals had improved dilation.ConclusionsAccording to our results, the coronary arterioles adapted to an elevated load during long-term exercise, and this adaptation depended on sex. It is important to emphasize that in addition to differences, we also found many similarities between the sexes in the adaptive response to exercise. The observed sport adaptation in the coronary resistance arteries of rats may contribute to a better understanding of the physiological and pathological function of these arteries in active and retired athletes of different sexes.