Transcriptional changes in blood after aerobic interval training in patients with the metabolic syndrome

  1. Anja Bye,a
  2. Arnt E. Tjønna,a
  3. Tomas O. Stølena
  4. Ragnhild E.N. Røsbjørgena
  5. Ulrik Wisløffa
  1. aDepartment of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Ulrik Wisløff, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Olav Kyrres gate 9, N-7489 Trondheim, Norway Tel: +47 73 59 86 21; fax: +47 73 59 86 13; e-mail:
  • ↵∗A.B. and A.E.T have contributed equally to this study.


Background Regular physical activity has beneficial effects on the metabolic syndrome. Eleven metabolic syndrome patients performing 16 weeks of aerobic interval training, significantly reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, in terms of improved VO2max, endothelial function, blood pressure, insulin signaling, and plasma lipid composition. The knowledge on underlying mechanism of exercise-induced improvements is sparse, and a broad spectrum of methods is needed to gain more insight.

Design The aim was, for the first time, to determine whether transcriptional changes occur in blood cells of metabolic syndrome patients after participating in an exercise program.

Methods Blood was collected in PAXgene and EDTA tubes before and after 16 weeks of exercise. RNA was extracted and run on microarrays.

Results Eleven biological processes and molecular functions were upregulated after exercise, whereas seven were downregulated. Blood clotting, cell adhesion, and steroid metabolism were among the downregulated processes, whereas steroid hormone-mediated signaling was upregulated. Downregulated protein levels of arginase 1 and von Willebrand factor confirmed microarray results.

Conclusion Increased transcription of genes involved in steroid hormone-mediated signaling, decreased levels of arginase 1, and reduced transcription of genes involved in cell adhesion, and blood clotting are likely to be involved in exercise-induced improvements of endothelial function, and improved cardiovascular risk profile of metabolic syndrome patients. These findings have provided new insights on exercise-induced improvement of cardiovascular health. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil 16:47-52 © 2009 The European Society of Cardiology


  • Received May 30, 2008.
  • Accepted September 30, 2008.


Return to