Impaired aerobic capacity in hypercholesterolemic mice: Partial reversal by exercise training

Josef Niebauer, Andrew J. Maxwell, Patrick S. Lin, Philip S. Tsao, Jon Kosek, Daniel Bernstein, John P. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The present study assessed whether impaired aerobic capacity previously observed in hypercholesterolemic mice is reversible by exercise training. Seventy-two 8-wk-old female C57BL/6J wild-type (+, n = 42) and apolipoprotein E-deficient (-, n = 30) mice were assigned to the following eight interventions: normal chow, sedentary (E+, n = 17; E-, n = 8) or exercised (E(ex)/+, n = 13; E(ex)/-, n = 7) and high-fat chow, sedentary (E(chol)/+, n = 6; E(chol)/-, n = 8) or exercised (E(chol-ex)/+, n = 6; E(chol-ex)/-, n = 7). Mice were trained on a treadmill 2 x 1 h/day, 6 days/wk, for 4 wk. Cholesterol levels correlated inversely with maximum oxygen uptake (r = - 0.35; P < 0.02), which was blunted in all hypercholesterolemic sedentary groups (all P < 0.05). Maximum oxygen uptake improved in all training groups but failed to match E(ex)/+ (all P < 0.05). Vascular reactivity and nitric oxide (NO) synthesis correlated with anaerobic threshold (r = 0.36; P < 0.025) and maximal distance run (r = 0.59; P < 0.007). We conclude that genetically induced hypercholesterolemia impairs aerobic capacity. This adverse impact of hypercholesterolemia on aerobic capacity may be related to its impairment of vascular NO synthesis and/or vascular smooth muscle sensitivity to nitrovasodilators. Aerobic capacity is improved to the same degree by exercise training in normal and genetically hypercholesterolemic mice, although there remains a persistent difference between these groups after training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1346-H1354
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 45-4
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Vascular reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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