Research: Physical activity in MS

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Background: Previous studies suggest beneficial effects of exercise in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, knowledge on the effects of physical activity on the immune system is limited. 

Objective: To assess potential relationships between cardiorespiratory fitness, cognitive function, and immune parameters in physically active and inactive MS patients. 

Methods: We identified 83 patients with relapsing-remitting disease, an unrestricted walking range, and stable interferon-β treatment from our data base. Based on the subjective report of physical activity, the lower/inactive (n = 21) and upper/active quartiles (n = 21) of patients were selected. We assessed the frequency of T cells, B cells, NK cells, monocytes and regulatory T cell populations by flow cytometry, measured brain-derived neurotrophic factor and vitamin D serum levels by ELISA, and conducted spiroergometry and transcranial sonography.

Results: Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness were not associated with brain-derived neurotrophic factor, frequency of T regulatory cells or any other immune cell subpopulation. However, we found a positive correlation of vitamin D serum levels with cardiorespiratory fitness. 

Conclusion: Overall, we found no negative effect of physical activity on the immune system. The association between vitamin D and cardiorespiratory fitness most likely reflects longer hours of sunlight exposure in active patients, suggesting a desirable ‘side- effect’ of physical activity.

This study found nothing worth reporting and this includes BDNF

About the author

MouseDoctor

2 comments

  • What about physical activity ala prog MS? Does activity like excercise knacker damaged axons further?

  • Don not overdo it.

    The information about over stimulating nerves is not.

    There are theorectical possibilities to support your comments, but others would disagree.

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