Exercise training enhances baroreflex sensitivity by an angiotensin II-dependent mechanism in chronic heart failure

Tarek M. Mousa, Dongmei Liu, Kurtis G. Cornish, Irving H. Zucker

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64 Scopus citations


Exercise training (EX) has become an important modality capable of enhancing the quality of life and survival of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Although 4 wk of EX in animals with CHF evoked a reduction in renal sympathetic nerve activity and ANG II plasma levels and an enhancement in baroreflex sensitivity at rest (Liu JL, Irvine S, Reid IA, Patel KP, Zucker IH, Circulation 102: 1854-1862, 2000; Liu JL, Kulakofsky J, Zucker IH, J Appl Physiol 92: 2403-2408, 2002), it is unclear whether these phenomena are causally related. CHF was induced in rabbits by ventricular pacing (360-380 beats/min) for 3 wk. CHF rabbits were EX for 4 wk at 15-18 m/min, 6 days/wk, 30-40 min/day. Three groups of rabbits were studied: CHF (with no EX), CHF-EX, and CHF-EX x ANG II infusion [in which ANG II levels were kept at or near levels observed in CHF (non-EX) rabbits by subcutaneous osmotic minipump infusion]. EX prevented the increase in plasma ANG II levels shown in CHF rabbits. CHF and CHF-EX + ANG II infusion rabbits had significantly depressed baroreflex sensitivity slopes (P < 0.01 for sodium nitroprusside and P < 0.001 for phenylephrine) and higher baseline renal sympathetic nerve activities than CHF-EX animals. EX downregulated mRNA and protein expression of ANG II type 1 receptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla in CHF rabbits. This was prevented by ANG II infusion. These data are consistent with the view that the reduction in sympathetic nerve activity and the improvement in baroreflex function in CHF after EX are due to the concomitant reduction in ANG II and angiotensin receptors in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Blood pressure
  • Renal function
  • Sympathetic nerve activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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