Beneficial effects of exercise training after myocardial infarction require full eNOS expression
Exercise training attenuates left ventricular (LV) dysfunction after myocardial infarction (MI). It could be speculated that these effects of exercise are mediated by increased endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that eNOS plays a critical role in the exercise-induced amelioration of LV dysfunction after MI. MI or sham was induced in eNOS-/-, eNOS+/-and eNOS+/+mice. After 8 weeks of voluntary wheel running (∼ 7 km/day in all groups) or sedentary housing, global cardiac function was determined in vivo and (immuno)histochemistry was performed to assess cardiomyocyte size, fibrosis, capillary density and apoptosis in remote myocardium. At baseline eNOS-/-mice had higher mean aortic pressure compared to eNOS+/-and eNOS+/+mice, but had normal global cardiac function. MI resulted in marked LV remodeling, including cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and a reduction in capillary density, increased fibrosis and apoptosis, as well as LV systolic and diastolic dysfunction to the same extent in all genotypes. In eNOS+/+MI mice exercise abolished fibrosis and apoptosis in the remote myocardium, attenuated LV systolic dysfunction and ameliorated pulmonary congestion. These beneficial effects were lost in eNOS+/-and eNOS-/-mice, while LV systolic dysfunction and pulmonary congestion in eNOS+/-mice were exacerbated by exercise. In conclusion, the beneficial effects of exercise after MI on LV remodeling and dysfunction depend critically on endogenous eNOS. The observation that the lack of one eNOS allele is sufficient to negate all beneficial effects of exercise, strongly suggests that exercise depends on full eNOS expression.