Cardiac remodeling in response to a myocardial infarction or chronic pressure-overload is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure. In contrast, cardiac remodeling produced by regular physical exercise is associated with a decreased risk for heart failure. There is evidence that exercise training has a beneficial effect on disease progression and survival in patients with cardiac remodeling and dysfunction, but concern has also been expressed that exercise training may aggravate pathological remodeling and dysfunction. Here we present studies from our laboratory into the effects of exercise training on pathological cardiac remodeling and dysfunction in mice. The results indicate that even in the presence of a large infarct, exercise training exerts beneficial effects on the heart. These effects were mimicked in part by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) overexpression and abrogated by eNOS deficiency, demonstrating the importance of nitric oxide signaling in mediating the cardiac effects of exercise. Exercise prior to a myocardial infarction was also cardioprotective. In contrast, exercise tended to aggravate pathological cardiac remodeling and dysfunction in the setting of pressure-overload produced by an aortic stenosis. These observations emphasize the critical importance of the underlying pathological stimulus for cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling, in determining the effects of exercise training. Future studies are needed to define the influence of exercise type, intensity and duration in different models and severities of pathological cardiac remodeling. Together such studies will aid in optimizing the therapy of exercise training in the setting of cardiovascular disease.

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Pfluegers Archiv: European journal of physiology
Department of Otorhinolaryngology

Duncker, D., van Deel, E., de Waard, M., de Boer, M., Merkus, D., & van der Velden, J. (2014). Exercise training in adverse cardiac remodeling. Pfluegers Archiv: European journal of physiology (Vol. 466, pp. 1079–1091). doi:10.1007/s00424-014-1464-8