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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 May 2;47(9):1835-9. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Aerobic training decreases B-type natriuretic peptide expression and adrenergic activation in patients with heart failure.

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Cardiovascular Medicine Department, CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy.



We sought to evaluate the effect of physical training on neurohormonal activation in patients with heart failure (HF).


Patients with HF benefit from physical training. Chronic neurohormonal activation has detrimental effects on ventricular remodeling and prognosis of patients with HF.


A total of 95 patients with HF were assigned randomly into two groups: 47 patients (group T) underwent a nine-month training program at 60% of the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2), whereas 48 patients did not (group C). The exercise load was adjusted during follow-up to achieve a progressive training effect. Plasma assay of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), norepinephrine, plasma renin activity, and aldosterone; quality-of-life questionnaire; echocardiogram; and cardiopulmonary stress test were performed upon enrollment and at the third and ninth month.


A total of 85 patients completed the protocol (44 in group T, left ventricular ejection fraction [EF] 35 +/- 2%, mean +/- SEM; and 41 in group C, EF 32 +/- 2%, p = NS). At the ninth month, patients who underwent training showed an improvement in workload (+14%, p < 0.001), peak VO2 (+13%, p < 0.001), systolic function (EF +9%, p < 0.01), and quality of life. We noted that BNP, NT-proBNP, and norepinephrine values decreased after training (-34%, p < 0.01; -32%, p < 0.05; -26%, p < 0.01, respectively). Increase in peak VO2 with training correlated significantly with the decrease in both BNP/NT-proBNP level (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively). Patients who did not undergo training showed no changes.


Clinical benefits after physical training in patients with HF are associated with blunting of adrenergic overactivity and of natriuretic peptide overexpression.

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