Background: Chronic renal insufficiency (CRI) is associated with a high incidence of hypertension (HTN), endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Sedentary life style increases, whereas regular exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study was designed to test the effect of regular exercise on vasodilatory and vasoconstrictive responses of the thoracic aorta in rats with renal mass reduction.
Methods: One week after 5/6 nephrectomy (CRI) or sham operation (control), rats were housed in either regular cages or cages equipped with running wheels for 4 weeks. Thereafter, thoracic aorta was harvested and contractile response to potassium and phenylephrine (PhE), and relaxation response to acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were determined.
Results: Compared with the control animals, sedentary CRI animals exhibited significant azotemia, proteinuria, HTN, oxidative stress, and increased sensitivity to potassium and PhE, and reduced sensitivity to ACh and SNP. Exercise training for 4 weeks reduced oxidative stress, reversed CRI-induced heightened sensitivity of the aorta to PhE and potassium, and restored its sensitivity to ACh (but not SNP) without affecting arterial pressure or renal function.
Conclusions: CRI results in heightened sensitivity to potassium- and alpha-1 adrenergic-mediated contractility and depressed sensitivity to endothelium-dependent relaxation in the aorta. Regular exercise improves these abnormalities without affecting arterial pressure or renal function. These observations suggest that exercise training can improve vascular function in animals, and perhaps humans, with chronic kidney disease.