Exercise for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Treatment: From Molecular to Clinical, Part 2
Regular physical activity or exercise training can lead to heart enlargement known as cardiac hypertrophy. Cardiac hypertrophy is broadly defined as an increase in heart mass. In adults, cardiac hypertrophy is often considered a poor prognostic sign because it often progresses to heart failure. Heart enlargement in a setting of cardiac disease is referred to as pathological cardiac hypertrophy and is typically characterized by cell death and depressed cardiac function. By contrast, physiological cardiac hypertrophy, as occurs in response to chronic exercise training (i.e. the 'athlete's heart'), is associated with normal or enhanced cardiac function. The following chapter describes the morphologically distinct types of heart growth, and the key role of the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) - phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt signaling pathway in regulating exercise-induced physiological cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac protection. Finally we summarize therapeutic approaches that target the IGF1-PI3K-Akt signaling pathway which are showing promise in preclinical models of heart disease.