Exercise training provides cardioprotection by activating and coupling endothelial nitric oxide synthase via a β3-adrenergic receptor-AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway

Larry A. Barr, Jonathan Lambert, Yuuki Shimizu, Lili Barouch, Nawazish Naqvi, John Calvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exercise training confers sustainable protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury. However, the mechanism by which this process occurs is not fully understood. Previously, it was shown that β3-adrenergic receptors (β3-ARs) play a critical role in regulating the activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in response to exercise and play a critical role in exercise-mediated cardioprotection. Intriguingly, a deficiency in β3-ARs led to increased myocardial injury following exercise training. The purpose of the current study was to determine mechanisms by which β3-ARs are linked to eNOS activation and to determine the mechanism responsible for the exacerbated ischemia/reperfusion injury displayed by β3-AR deficient (β3-AR KO) mice after exercise training. Wild-type (n = 37) and β3-AR KO ( n = 40) mice were subjected to voluntary wheel running for 4 weeks. Western blot analysis revealed that neither protein kinase B nor protein kinase A linked β3-ARs to eNOS following exercise training. However, analysis revealed a role for AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Specifically, exercise training increased the phosphorylation of AMPK in the hearts of wild-type mice, but failed to do so in the hearts of β3-AR KO mice. Additional studies revealed that exercise training rendered eNOS less coupled and increased NOS-dependent superoxide levels in β3-AR KO mice. Finally, supplementing β3-AR KO mice with the eNOS coupler, tetrahydrobiopterin, during the final week of exercise training reduced myocardial infarction. These findings provide important information that exercise training protects the heart in the setting of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury by activating and coupling eNOS via the stimulation of a β3-AR-AMPK signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Gas Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • AMP-activated protein kinase
  • endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • exercise
  • heart
  • infarction
  • myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury
  • nitric oxide
  • β-adrenergic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise training provides cardioprotection by activating and coupling endothelial nitric oxide synthase via a β<sub>3</sub>-adrenergic receptor-AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this