BACKGROUND: The influences of exercising on cytokine response, fatigue and cardiorespiratory values are important aspects of rehabilitation in MSers. Exercise performed within these programs is often practised in water but the effects of immersion on MSers have not been systematically investigated.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to determine differences in cytokine and neurotrophin concentrations, fatigue and cardiorespiratory values in response to 3 week endurance training conducted on a cycle ergometer or an aquatic bike.
METHODS: A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted in 60 MSers (EDSS range 1.0-6.5). Resting serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), Interleukin-6, soluble receptor of IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, and concentrations in response to cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), fatigue and cardiorespiratory values were determined at entry and discharge. Subjects performed daily 30 minute training at 60% of VO(2)max.
RESULTS: Cytokines and neurotrophins showed no significant differences between groups over the training intervention. Within the water group BDNF resting and post-CPET concentrations (p<0.05) showed a significant increase and NGF tended to increase after the training intervention. Short-term effects on BDNF (CEPT) tended to increase at the start and significantly thereafter (p<0.05). No changes occurred in the land group. Other cytokines and fatigue scores remained unchanged over the training period. Cardiorespiratory values improved significantly over time within both groups.
CONCLUSION: This study indicates that aquatic training activates BDNF regulation and can be an effective training method during rehabilitation in MSers.
“Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the good cytokines that is a nerve survival factor and may rise after training exercise in the water. Exercise also releases endorphins within the brain that have a mood ealevating effect. Exercise also increases your aerobic capacity and when done properly will reduce physical fatigue. The metabolic benefits of exercise in relation to weight loss and improved glucose metabolism is another reason to participate if you can. If you are unsure about what to do ask your MSologist to refer you to physio for an assessment.”