Background: The development and progression of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) shares a number of similarities with atherosclerosis. Recently we could demonstrate that regular exercise training (ET) as primary prevention prevents aortic valve disease in LDL-receptor deficient (LDLR-/-) mice. We aimed to investigate the impact of exercise training on the progression of CAVD in LDLR-/- mice in the setting of secondary prevention Methods and Results: Sixty-four LDLR-/- mice were fed with high cholesterol diet to induce aortic valve sclerosis. Thereafter the animals were divided into 3 groups: group 1 continuing on high cholesterol diet, group 2 continuing with cholesterol diet plus 1 h ET per day, group 3 continuing with normal mouse chow. After another 16 weeks the animal were sacrificed. Histological analysis of the aortic valve thickness demonstrated no significant difference between the three groups (control 98.3±4.5 μm, ET 88.2±6.6 μm, change in diet 87.5±4.0). Immunohistochemical staining for endothelial cells revealed a disrupted endothelial cell layer to the same extend in all groups. Furthermore no difference between the groups was evident with respect to the expression of inflammatory, fibroblastic and osteoblastic markers. Conclusion: Based on the present study we have to conclude that once the development of a CAVD is initiated, exercise training or a change in diet does not have the potential to attenuate the progress of the CAVD.
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