Chris Skinner

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Medicine


Exercise Physiology

Committee Chair

Paul D Chantler

Committee Co-Chair

Randall W Bryner

Committee Member

Ivan M Olfert


Metabolic Syndrome (Mets) is a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors that results in a three-fold increase in cardiovascular disease. MetS is known to be associated with adverse arterial remodeling, endothelial dysfunction, decreased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, increased inflammation, and conduit artery dysfunction. Depression/chronic stress is emerging as a potent contributor to MetS, with MetS also aiding in the progression of depression, and thus increased vascular dysfunction. These bi-directional comorbidities are continually increasing in prevalence, justifying a need for research on their interplay and potential treatments. Aerobic exercise is a widely accepted therapy for the risk factors associated with MetS, mental stress, and vascular dysfunction. However, no study has evaluated the ability of aerobic exercise to combat the vascular dysfunction caused by MetS and depressive-like symptoms. Our objective is to evaluate the effects of MetS, chronic unpredictable stress, and exercise on the conduit arteries. The central hypothesis is aerobic exercise will attenuate the harmful arterial remodeling, endothelial dysfunction, and decreased NO bioavailability caused by MetS and chronic stress.