Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 2201–2211 | Cite as

Exercise protects against PCB-induced inflammation and associated cardiovascular risk factors

  • Margaret O. Murphy
  • Michael C. Petriello
  • Sung Gu Han
  • Manjula Sunkara
  • Andrew J. Morris
  • Karyn Esser
  • Bernhard Hennig
PCBs: Exposures, Effects, Remediation and Regulation with special reference to PCBs in Schools


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent environmental pollutants that contribute to the initiation of cardiovascular disease. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; however, whether exercise can modulate PCB-induced vascular endothelial dysfunction and associated cardiovascular risk factors is unknown. We examined the effects of exercise on coplanar PCB-induced cardiovascular risk factors including oxidative stress, inflammation, impaired glucose tolerance, hypercholesteremia, and endothelium-dependent relaxation. Male ApoE−/− mice were divided into sedentary and exercise groups (voluntary wheel running) over a 12-week period. Half of each group was exposed to vehicle or PCB 77 at weeks 1, 2, 9, and 10. For ex vivo studies, male C57BL/6 mice exercised via voluntary wheel training for 5 weeks and then were administered with vehicle or PCB 77 24 h before vascular reactivity studies were performed. Exposure to coplanar PCB increased risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, including oxidative stress and systemic inflammation, glucose intolerance, and hypercholesteremia. The 12-week exercise intervention significantly reduced these proatherogenic parameters. Exercise also upregulated antioxidant enzymes including phase II detoxification enzymes. Sedentary animals exposed to PCB 77 exhibited endothelial dysfunction as demonstrated by significant impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation, which was prevented by exercise. Lifestyle modifications such as aerobic exercise could be utilized as a therapeutic approach for the prevention of adverse cardiovascular health effects induced by environmental pollutants such as PCBs.


Exercise Polychlorinated biphenyl Endothelial function Antioxidant response Cardiovascular disease Inflammation Oxidative stress 



We thank the University of Kentucky Center of Research in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease COBRE P20 GM103527-06 for its use of its core facilities, specifically the EchoMRI machine to measure body composition. We thank Alan Daugherty and Jess Moorleghen for their assistance in vascular reactivity studies.


This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health [P42ES007380], the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, and the UK Center for Muscle Biology.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_4062_MOESM1_ESM.docx (481 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 480 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret O. Murphy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael C. Petriello
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sung Gu Han
    • 2
    • 4
  • Manjula Sunkara
    • 2
    • 5
  • Andrew J. Morris
    • 2
    • 5
  • Karyn Esser
    • 6
  • Bernhard Hennig
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of Kentucky Superfund Research CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Center for Toxicology, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Food Science and Biotechnology of Animal Resources, College of Animal Bioscience and TechnologyKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Physiology, College of MedicineUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  7. 7.Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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