Effects of exercise on reverse cholesterol transport: A systemized narrative review of animal studies

Saleh Rahmati-Ahmadabad, David Robert Broom, Abbass Ghanbari-Niaki, Hossein Shirvani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Reverse Cholesterol Transport (RCTr) is the mechanism by which excess cholesterol from peripheral tissues is transported to the liver for hepatobiliary excretion, thereby inhibiting foam cell formation and the development of atherosclerosis. Exercise affects RCTr, by influencing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) through remodeling and by promoting hepatobiliary sterol excretion. The objectives of this systematized review of animal studies is to summarize the literature and provide an overview of the effects of chronic exercise (at least two weeks) on apolipoproteins (Apo A-I, Apo-E), Paraoxonase-1 (PON1), ATP-binding cassette transporters (ABCA1, ABCG1, ABCG4, ABCG5, ABCG8), scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) and Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1). Materials and methods: Three electronic databases (PubMed, Science Direct and Google Scholar) were searched for eligible studies conducted from the earliest available date to August 2018. Key findings: Most of studies investigate the effects of low to moderate intensity aerobic training on RCTr elements. The majority were on exercised rats undertaking moderate intensity aerobic training. Significance: This review highlights that moderate intensity and longer-term training has a greater effect on RCTr elements than low intensity training. There a few studies examining high intensity training which warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalLife Sciences
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • ATP-binding cassette transporters (ABCs)
  • Cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1)
  • Low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr)
  • Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1)
  • Paraoxonase-1 (PON1)
  • Reverse cholesterol transport (RCTr)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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