A systematic comparison of exercise training protocols on animal models of cardiovascular capacity

Rui Feng, Liyang Wang, Zhonguang Li, Rong Yang, Yu Liang, Yuting Sun, Qiuxia Yu, George Ghartey-Kwansah, Yanping Sun, Yajun Wu, Wei Zhang, Xin Zhou, Mengmeng Xu, Joseph Bryant, Guifang Yan, William Isaacs, Jianjie Ma, Xuehong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major global cause of mortality, which has prompted numerous studies seeking to reduce the risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. While regular physical activity is known to improve CVD associated morbidity and mortality, the optimal duration, frequency, and intensity of exercise remains unclear. To address this uncertainty, various animal models have been used to study the cardioprotective effects of exercise and related molecular mechanism such as the mice training models significantly decrease size of myocardial infarct by affecting Kir6.1, VSMC sarc-KATP channels, and pulmonary eNOS. Although these findings cement the importance of animal models in studying exercise induced cardioprotection, the vast assortment of exercise protocols makes comparison across studies difficult. To address this issue, we review and break down the existent exercise models into categories based on exercise modality, intensity, frequency, and duration. The timing of sample collection is also compared and sorted into four distinct phases: pre-exercise (Phase I), mid-exercise (Phase II), exercise recovery (Phase III), and post-exercise (Phase IV). Finally, because the life-span of animals so are limited, small changes in animal exercise duration can corresponded to untenable amounts of human exercise. To address this limitation, we introduce the Life-Span Relative Exercise Time (RETlife span) as a method of accurately defining short-term, medium-term and long-term exercise relative to the animal's life expectancy. Systematic organization of existent protocols and this new system of defining exercise duration will allow for a more solid framework from which researchers can extrapolate animal model data to clinical application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-140
Number of pages13
JournalLife Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Animal model
  • Exercise stress testing
  • Exercise training procedure
  • Exercise-promoted cardio-protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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