Arterial stiffness and physical function – a population-based study in older adults aged 75, 80 and 85 years (AINO)



Arterial stiffening – a process largely attributable to intimal thickening, collagen disposition, and elastin fragmentation – contributes significantly to cardiovascular events and mortality. There is also evidence that arterial stiffening may be negatively related to physical function in old age.


As part of AINO, a satellite project embedded in the AGNES cohort study (Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland), a potential association between arterial stiffness and walking capacity was investigated in older people.


A population-based sample of 910 older adults living in their own homes, aged 75, 80, or 85 years, respectively, was examined in a cross-sectional study. Pulse wave velocity (PWV), a surrogate marker of arterial stiffness, and several parameters of walking capacity (habitual 10-meter walking speed, maximal 10-meter walking speed, and 6-minute walk distance) were measured. Multiple linear regression models were used to examine possible associations between PWV and parameters of walking capacity.


The fully adjusted regression models revealed no evidence of a relationship between PWV and the parameters of walking capacity.


Previous findings suggesting a possible negative association between arterial stiffness and walking capacity in old age could not be confirmed.


AGNES project lead

Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen (Principal Investigator; Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences & Gerontology Research Center, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

AGNES project coordination

Prof. Dr. Erja Portegijs (Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Dr. Laura Karavirta (Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences & Gerontology Research Center, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

AGNES project partner & leader of the AINO satellite project

PD Dr. Timo Hinrichs (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)



From 2016 to 2021, the AGNES project was funded by the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant No. 693045 for Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen and Grants No. 339391 and 346462 for Dr. Laura Karavirta) and the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 310526 for Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen).

The satellite project on arterial stiffness and physical function – AINO – was additionally supported by Sport & Exercise Medicine Switzerland (SEMS Research Award 2021 for PD Dr. Timo Hinrichs).

The devices used for the arterial stiffness measurements have been provided by the Schiller AG, Baar, Switzerland. After the measurement period, devices have been returned to the company. The Schiller AG has no role in study design, study conduct, data analyses, interpretation of findings, or decision to publish findings.



Hinrichs T, Portegijs E, Rantanen T, Infanger D, Schmidt-Trucksass A, Karavirta L: Association between arterial stiffness and walking capacity in older adults. Experimental Gerontology 2022, 167:111925.

Rantanen T, Saajanaho M, Karavirta L, Siltanen S, Rantakokko M, Viljanen A, Rantalainen T, Pynnönen K, Karvonen A, Lisko I, Palmberg L, Eronen J, Palonen E-M, Hinrichs T, Kauppinen M, Kokko K, Portegijs, E: Active aging – resilience and external support as modifiers of the disablement outcome: AGNES study protocol. BMC Public Health 2018, 18:565.