Research Study Abstract

Objectively measured physical activity and cardiac biomarkers: A cross sectional population based study in older men

  • Published on Jan 28, 2018

Background: N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and high sensitivity Troponin T (hsTnT) are markers of cardiac injury used in diagnosis of heart failure and myocardial infarction respectively, and associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Since physical activity is protective against cardiovascular disease and heart failure, we investigated whether higher levels of physical activity, and less sedentary behaviour were associated with lower NT-proBNP and hsTnT.

Methods and Results: Cross sectional study of 1130 men, age 70-91years, from the British Regional Heart Study, measured in 2010-2012. Fasting blood samples were analysed for NT-proBNP and hsTnT. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour were measured using ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers. Relationships between activity and NT-proBNP or hsTnT were non-linear; biomarker levels were lower with higher total activity, steps, moderate/vigorous activity and light activity only at low to moderate levels of activity. For example, for each additional 10min of moderate/vigorous activity, NT-proBNP was lower by 35.7% (95% CI -47.9, -23.6) and hsTnT by 8.4% (95% CI -11.1, -5.6), in men who undertook <25 or 50min of moderate/vigorous activity per day respectively. Biomarker levels increased linearly with increasing sedentary behaviour, but not independently of moderate/vigorous activity.

Conclusion: Associations between biomarkers and moderate/vigorous activity (and between hsTnT and light activity) were independent of sedentary behaviour, suggesting activity is driving the relationships. In these older men with concomitantly low levels of physical activity, activity may be more important in protecting against cardiac health deterioration in less active individuals, although reverse causality might be operating.


  • Parsons TJ 1
  • Sartini C 2
  • Welsh P 3
  • Sattar N 3
  • Ash S 2
  • Lennon LT 2
  • Wannamethee SG 2
  • Lee IM 4
  • Whincup PH 5
  • Jefferis BJ 2


  • 1

    UCL Department of Primary Care & Population Health, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

  • 2

    UCL Department of Primary Care & Population Health, United Kingdom.

  • 3

    Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, United Kingdom.

  • 4

    Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States.

  • 5

    Population Health Research Institute, St George's University of London, United Kingdom.


Int J Cardiology


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