Indexed on: 16 Jun '07Published on: 16 Jun '07Published in: Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Successive bouts of endurance exercise are associated with both increased cardiac levels of heat shock protein-72 (HSP-72) and improved cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion (I/R)-induced cardiac cell death. Although overexpression of HSP-72 has been shown to be cardioprotective in transgenic animals, it is unclear whether increased levels of HSP-72 are essential for exercise-induced cardioprotection against I/R-mediated cell death. We tested the hypothesis that exercise-induced increases in myocardial levels of HSP-72 are required to achieve exercise-mediated protection against I/R-induced cardiac cell death. To test this postulate, we investigated the effect of preventing the exercise-induced increase in cardiac HSP-72 on myocardial infarction and apoptosis after 50 min of in vivo ischemia and 120 min of reperfusion. Adult male rats remained sedentary or performed successive bouts of endurance exercise in cold (8 degrees C) or warm (22 degrees C) environments. We found that, compared with sedentary control animals, exercise in a warm environment significantly increased myocardial HSP-72 content. In contrast, exercise in the cold environment prevented the exercise-induced increase in myocardial HSP-72 levels. After in vivo myocardial I/R, infarct size was reduced in both exercised groups compared with sedentary animals. Furthermore, compared with sedentary rats, I/R-induced myocardial apoptosis (as indicated by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick-end labeling-positive nuclei and caspase-3 activity) was attenuated in both groups of exercised animals. Therefore, although HSP-72 has cardioprotective properties, our results reveal that increased myocardial levels of HSP-72 (above control) are not essential for exercise-induced protection against I/R-induced myocardial infarction and apoptosis.