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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Respiratory Research 1/2014

Effects of exercise training on pulmonary vessel muscularization and right ventricular function in an animal model of COPD

Respiratory Research > Ausgabe 1/2014
Erlend Hassel, Anne Marie Berre, Anne Jarstein Skjulsvik, Sigurd Steinshamn
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12931-014-0117-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

EH planned and coordinated the study and was involved in smoke exposure and training of animals, quantification of emphysema and drafted the manuscript. AMB was involved in training the animals and performed the echocardiography. AJS quantified muscularization of pulmonary vessels. SS conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Right ventricular dysfunction in COPD is common, even in the absence of pulmonary hypertension. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of high intensity interval training (HIIT) on right ventricular (RV) function, as well as pulmonary blood vessel remodeling in a mouse model of COPD.


42 female A/JOlaHsd mice were randomized to exposure to either cigarette smoke or air for 6 hours/day, 5 days/week for 14 weeks. Mice from both groups were further randomized to sedentariness or HIIT for 4 weeks. Cardiac function was evaluated by echocardiography and muscularization of pulmonary vessel walls by immunohistochemistry.


Smoke exposure induced RV systolic dysfunction demonstrated by reduced tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion. HIIT in smoke-exposed mice reversed RV dysfunction. There were no significant effects on the left ventricle of neither smoke exposure nor HIIT. Muscularization of the pulmonary vessels was reduced after exercise intervention, but no significant effects on muscularization were observed from smoke exposure.


RV function was reduced in mice exposed to cigarette smoke. No Increase in pulmonary vessel muscularization was observed in these mice, implying that other mechanisms caused the RV dysfunction. HIIT attenuated the RV dysfunction in the smoke exposed mice. Reduced muscularization of the pulmonary vessels due to HIIT suggests that exercise training not only affects the heart muscle, but also has important effects on the pulmonary vasculature.
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