Ca2+ regulatory mechanisms of exercise protection against coronary artery disease in metabolic syndrome and diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Scopus citations


Chronic exercise attenuates coronary artery disease (CAD) in humans largely independent of reductions in risk factors; thus major protective mechanisms of exercise are directly within the coronary vasculature. Further, tight control of diabetes, e.g., blood glucose, can be detrimental. Accordingly, knowledge of mechanisms by which exercise attenuates diabetic CAD could catalyze development of molecular therapies. Exercise attenuates CAD (atherosclerosis) and restenosis in miniature swine models, which enable precise control of exercise parameters (intensity, duration, and frequency) and characterization of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and diabetic milieu. Intracellular Ca2+ is a pivotal second messenger for coronary smooth muscle (CSM) excitation-contraction and excitation-transcription coupling that modulates CSM proliferation, migration, and calcification. CSM of diabetic dyslipidemic Yucatan swine have impaired Ca2+ extrusion via the plasmalemma Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA), downregulation of L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCC), increased Ca2+ sequestration by the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA), increased nuclear Ca2+ localization, and greater activation of K channels by Ca2+ release from the SR. Endurance exercise training prevents Ca2+ transport changes with virtually no effect on the diabetic milieu (glucose, lipids). In MetS Ossabaw swine transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channels are upregulated and exercise training reverses expression and TRPC-mediated Ca2+ influx with almost no change in the MetS milieu. Overall, exercise effects on Ca 2+ signaling modulate CSM phenotype. Future studies should 1) selectively target key Ca2+ transporters to determine definitively their causal role in atherosclerosis and 2) combine mechanistic studies with clinical outcomes, e.g., reduction of myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-586
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Calcification
  • K channel
  • Nucleus
  • Plasmalemma Ca ATPase
  • Proliferation
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca ATPase
  • Subcellular localization
  • Transient receptor potential canonical channel
  • Voltage-gated Ca channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)

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