High-intensity training reduces intermittent hypoxia-induced ER stress and myocardial infarct size

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016 Jan 15;310(2):H279-89. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00448.2015. Epub 2015 Nov 13.


Chronic intermittent hypoxia (IH) is described as the major detrimental factor leading to cardiovascular morbimortality in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. OSA patients exhibit increased infarct size after a myocardial event, and previous animal studies have shown that chronic IH could be the main mechanism. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays a major role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. High-intensity training (HIT) exerts beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Thus, we hypothesized that HIT could prevent IH-induced ER stress and the increase in infarct size. Male Wistar rats were exposed to 21 days of IH (21-5% fraction of inspired O2, 60-s cycle, 8 h/day) or normoxia. After 1 wk of IH alone, rats were submitted daily to both IH and HIT (2 × 24 min, 15-30m/min). Rat hearts were either rapidly frozen to evaluate ER stress by Western blot analysis or submitted to an ischemia-reperfusion protocol ex vivo (30 min of global ischemia/120 min of reperfusion). IH induced cardiac proapoptotic ER stress, characterized by increased expression of glucose-regulated protein kinase 78, phosphorylated protein kinase-like ER kinase, activating transcription factor 4, and C/EBP homologous protein. IH-induced myocardial apoptosis was confirmed by increased expression of cleaved caspase-3. These IH-associated proapoptotic alterations were associated with a significant increase in infarct size (35.4 ± 3.2% vs. 22.7 ± 1.7% of ventricles in IH + sedenary and normoxia + sedentary groups, respectively, P < 0.05). HIT prevented both the IH-induced proapoptotic ER stress and increased myocardial infarct size (28.8 ± 3.9% and 21.0 ± 5.1% in IH + HIT and normoxia + HIT groups, respectively, P = 0.28). In conclusion, these findings suggest that HIT could represent a preventive strategy to limit IH-induced myocardial ischemia-reperfusion damages in OSA patients.

Keywords: endoplasmic reticulum stress; high-intensity aerobic training; intermittent hypoxia; ischemia-reperfusion; obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Catecholamines / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Physical Endurance
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Catecholamines
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • glucose-regulated proteins
  • Casp3 protein, rat
  • Caspase 3