Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with kidney disease. The effectiveness of exercise for cardiovascular disease that is accelerated by the presence of chronic kidney disease remains unknown. The present study utilized apolipoprotein E knockout mice with 5/6 nephrectomy as a model of combined kidney disease and cardiovascular disease to investigate the effect of exercise on aortic plaque formation, vascular function and systemic inflammation. Animals were randomly assigned to nephrectomy or control and then to either voluntary wheel running exercise or sedentary. Following 12-weeks, aortic plaque area was significantly (p < 0.05, d = 1.2) lower in exercising nephrectomised mice compared to sedentary nephrectomised mice. There was a strong, negative correlation between average distance run each week and plaque area in nephrectomised and control mice (r = –0.76, p = 0.048 and r = –0.73, p = 0.062; respectively). In vitro aortic contraction and endothelial-independent and endothelial-dependent relaxation were not influenced by exercise (p > 0.05). Nephrectomy increased IL-6 and TNF-α concentrations compared with control mice (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively), while levels of IL-10, MCP-1 and MIP-1α were not significantly influenced by nephrectomy or voluntary exercise (p > 0.05). Exercise was an effective non-pharmacologic approach to slow cardiovascular disease in the presence of kidney disease in the apolipoprotein E knockout mouse.
apoE, kidney disease, inflammation, vascular function