The effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on the speed-duration relationship in mice with sickle cell disease
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
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Sickle cell disease (SCD) causes exercise intolerance likely due to impaired skeletal muscle function and low nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. Dietary nitrate improves hemodynamic and metabolic control during exercise in humans and animals. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the impact of nitrate supplementation on exercise capacity as measured by the running speed to exercise duration relationship [critical speed (CS)]in mice with SCD. We tested the hypothesis that nitrate supplementation via beetroot juice (BR) would attenuate the exercise intolerance observed in mice with SCD. Ten wild-type (WT) and 18 Berkley sickle-cell mice (BERK) received water (WT: n = 10, BERK: n = 10) or nitrate-rich BR (BERK+BR: n = 8, nitrate dose 1 mmol/kg/day) for 5 days. Following the supplementation period, all mice performed 3-5 constant-speed treadmill tests that resulted in exhaustion within 1.5 to 20 min. Time to exhaustion vs. treadmill speed was fit to a hyperbolic model to determine CS. CS was significantly lower in BERK vs. WT and BERK+BR with no significant difference between WT and BERK+BR (WT: 36.6 ± 1.6, BERK: 23.8 ± 1.5, BERK+BR: 31.1 ± 2.1 m/min, P < 0.05). Exercise tolerance, measured via CS, was significantly lower in BERK mice relative to WT. However, BERK mice receiving 5 days of nitrate supplementation exhibited no difference in exercise tolerance when compared with WT. These results support the potential utility of a dietary nitrate intervention to improve functionality in SCD patients.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Sickle cell disease compromises muscle O2 delivery resulting in exercise intolerance. Dietary nitrate supplementation increases skeletal muscle blood flow during exercise and may improve exercise capacity in a mouse model of sickle cell disease. We investigated the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance in a mouse model of sickle cell disease using the treadmill speed-duration relationship (critical speed). Mice with sickle cell disease provided with a dietary nitrate supplement had a critical speed not significantly different from healthy wild-type mice.