Aim: Recent studies reported that low high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-mediated cholesterol efflux capacity rather than low HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is strongly associated with the increased risk for coronary artery disease. It remains unclear whether exercised-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) can increase HDL cholesterol efflux capacity.
Method: This study is a retrospective analysis of stored serum from patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) who participated in outpatient CR program following successful percutaneous coronary intervention. We employed a cell-based cholesterol efflux system including the incubation of 3H-cholesterol labeled macrophages with apolipoprotein B-depleted serum at the onset or early phase of ACS and at 6-month follow-up periods in 57 male and 11 female patients with ACS. Cardiopulmonary exercise tests were performed at the beginning and end of CR program.
Result: Fifty-seven patients completed the CR program. Compared with patients who dropped out from CR program (non-CR group), CR participants showed marked amelioration in serum lipid levels, increased efflux capacity, and improved exercise capacity. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient analysis revealed that the percent increases of efflux capacity were significantly associated with the percent increases in HDL-C (ρ=0.598, p＜0.0001) and apolipoprotein A1 (ρ=0.508, p＜0.0001), whereas no association between increases in efflux capacity and increases in cardiopulmonary fitness was observed. Increases in cholesterol efflux capacity were not seen in patients who continued smoking and those who did not achieve all risk factor targets and higher exercise tolerance.
Conclusion: CR can markedly increase both HDL-C and HDL cholesterol efflux capacity. These results suggest that CR is a very useful therapy for reverse cholesterol transport and secondary prevention.