Study suggests aerobic exercise as a treatment for heart failure

Now, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Sao Paulo, have found that aerobic exercise could help to restore the cardiac protein quality control system. The study not only indicates that the disruption of cardiac protein quality control system contributes to heart failure development, but also illustrates that aerobic exercises may be a promising treatment option for sufferers with heart failure.

Heart failure, or called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should. Typical symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, and leg swelling. A range of coronary artery diseases can result in heart failure.

It is estimated that approximately 20 million people in the world have this disease. As the population ages, this number is expected to increase exponentially. Those over the age of 65 tend to have a higher risk of heart failure.

Heart failure is considered to be a clinical complex syndrome. Scientists have long investigated the exact mechanism of it. In human patients and animals with heart failure, scientists have found the buildup of abnormal protein in their heart cells. 

It is known that proteins are essential to the function of cells. These molecules consist of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. The structure of a protein is important for it to function properly. A protein quality control system in our cells can help to maintain the normal function of proteins by refolding or degrading defective proteins.

In rat models of heart failure, the research team found that the disruption of cardiac protein quality control system led to defective protein buildup. Currently, we have no medicines to target this system. The team wondered whether aerobic exercise training would help to restore this system in experimental animals. Aerobic exercises have many health benefits, including decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The results showed that aerobic exercise training rebuilt the cardiac protein quality control system. As a result, defective protein buildup was decreased and cardiac function was improved in these rat models of heart failure. The study concluded that the disruption of the cardiac protein quality control system may be linked to heart failure. Moreover, aerobic exercise training may benefit people suffering from heart failure.
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