Objective Exercise has been shown to improve cardiometabolic health, yet neither the molecular connection nor the effects of exercise timing have been elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ad libitum or time-restricted mild exercise reduces atherosclerosis development in atherosclerosis-prone dyslipidemic APOE*3-Leiden.CETP mice and whether mild exercise training in men with obesity affects lipoprotein levels. Methods Mice were group-housed and subjected to ad libitum or time-restricted (first or last 6 hours of the active phase) voluntary wheel running for 16 weeks while on a cholesterol-rich diet, after which atherosclerosis development was assessed in the aortic root. Furthermore, nine men with obesity followed a 12-week mild exercise training program. Lipoprotein levels were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in plasma collected pre and post exercise training. Results Wheel running did not affect plasma lipid levels, uptake of triglyceride-derived fatty acids by tissues, and aortic atherosclerotic lesion size or severity. Markers of training status were unaltered. Exercise training in men with obesity did not alter lipoprotein levels. Conclusions Mild exercise training does not reduce dyslipidemia or atherosclerosis development in APOE*3-Leiden.CETP mice or affect lipoprotein levels in humans. Future research on the effects of (time-restricted) exercise on atherosclerosis or lipid metabolism should consider more vigorous exercise protocols.
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