Voluntary Exercise Suppresses Choroidal Neovascularization in Mice

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2020 May 11;61(5):52. doi: 10.1167/iovs.61.5.52.


Purpose: To determine the effect of voluntary exercise on choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in mice.

Methods: Age-matched wild-type C57BL/6J mice were housed in cages equipped with or without running wheels. After four weeks of voluntary running or sedentariness, mice were subjected to laser injury to induce CNV. After surgical recovery, mice were placed back in cages with or without exercise wheels for seven days. CNV lesion volumes were measured by confocal microscopy. The effect of wheel running only in the seven days after injury was also evaluated. Macrophage abundance and cytokine expression were quantified.

Results: In the first study, exercise-trained mice exhibited a 45% reduction in CNV volume compared to sedentary mice. In the replication study, a 32% reduction in CNV volume in exercise-trained mice was observed (P = 0.029). Combining these two studies, voluntary exercise was found to reduce CNV by 41% (P = 0.0005). Exercise-trained male and female mice had similar CNV volumes (P = 0.99). The daily running distance did not correlate with CNV lesion size. Exercise only after the laser injury without a preconditioning period did not reduce CNV size (P = 0.41). CNV lesions of exercise-trained mice also exhibited significantly lower F4/80+ macrophage staining and Vegfa and Ccl2 mRNA expression.

Conclusions: These findings provide the first experimental evidence that voluntary exercise improves CNV outcomes. These studies indicate that exercise before laser treatment is required to improve CNV outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity*