Exercise training enhances multiple mechanisms of relaxation in coronary arteries from ischemic hearts

Rachel R. Deer, Cristine L. Heaps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Exercise training of coronary artery disease patients is of considerable interest, since it has been shown to improve vascular function and, thereby, enhance blood flow into compromised myocardial regions. However, the mechanisms underlying exercise-induced improvements in vascular function have not been fully elucidated. We tested the hypothesis that exercise training increases the contribution of multiple mediators to endothelium-dependent relaxation of coronary arteries in the underlying setting of chronic coronary artery occlusion. To induce gradual occlusion, an ameroid constrictor was placed around the proximal left circumflex coronary artery in Yucatan miniature swine. At 8 wk postoperatively, pigs were randomly assigned to sedentary or exercise (treadmill, 5 days/wk) regimens for 14 wk. Exercise training significantly enhanced the contribution of nitric oxide, prostanoids, and large-conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ (BKCa) channels to endothelium- dependent, bradykinin-mediated relaxation in nonoccluded and collateral-dependent arteries. Combined nitric oxide synthase, prostanoid, and BKCa channel inhibition ablated the enhanced relaxation associated with exercise training. Exercise training significantly increased nitric oxide levels in response to bradykinin in endothelial cells isolated from nonoccluded and collateral-dependent arteries. Bradykinin treatment significantly increased PGI2 levels in all artery treatment groups and tended to be further enhanced after nitric oxide synthase inhibition in exercise-trained pigs. No differences were found in whole cell BKCa channel currents, BKCa channel protein levels, or arterial cyclic nucleotide levels. Although redundant, upregulation of parallel vasodilator pathways appears to contribute to enhanced endothelium-dependent relaxation, potentially providing a more refined control of blood flow after exercise training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1321-H1331
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic coronary artery occlusion
  • Endothelium
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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