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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Sep;291(3):H1290-8. Epub 2006 Apr 14.

Exercise training improves aging-induced downregulation of VEGF angiogenic signaling cascade in hearts.

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  • 1Institute of Health and Sport Sciences, Center for Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Abstract

Exercise training improves aging-induced deterioration of angiogenesis in the heart. However, the mechanisms underlying exercise-induced improvement of capillary density in the aged heart are unclear. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is implicated in angiogenesis, which activated angiogenic signaling cascade through Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-related pathway. We hypothesized that VEGF angiogenic signaling cascade in the heart contributes to a molecular mechanism of exercise training-induced improvement of capillary density in old age. With the use of hearts of sedentary young rats (4 mo old), sedentary aged rats (23 mo old), and exercise-trained aged rats (23 mo old, swim training for 8 wk), the present study investigated whether VEGF and VEGF-related angiogenic molecular expression in the aged heart is affected by exercise training. Total capillary density in the heart was significantly lower in the sedentary aged rats compared with the sedentary young rats, whereas that in the exercise-trained rat was significantly higher than the sedentary aged rats. The mRNA and protein expressions of VEGF and of fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (Flt-1) and fetal liver kinase-1 (Flk-1), which are main VEGF receptors, in the heart were significantly lower in the sedentary aged rats compared with the sedentary young rats, whereas those in the exercise-trained rats were significantly higher than those in the sedentary aged rats. The phosphorylation of Akt protein and eNOS protein in the heart corresponded to the changes in the VEGF protein levels. These findings suggest that exercise training improves aging-induced downregulation of cardiac VEGF angiogenic signaling cascade, thereby contributing to the exercise training-induced improvement of angiogenesis in old age.

PMID:
16617130
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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