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Balance Training Shown to Promote Anti-inflammatory Response in Patients With Parkinson Disease, Study Shows


Balance training of moderate intensity (BT) may increase anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factor levels of patients with Parkinson disease (PD), according to study findings.

Balance training of moderate intensity (BT) may increase anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factor levels of patients with Parkinson disease (PD), according to study results published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Researchers aimed to investigate whether regular BT has an effect on changes in select cytokines, neurotrophic factors, CD200, and fractalkine in healthy older adults and participants with PD (PwP).

“Physical health in older adults is compromised by age-related changes in health status and functionality. Human aging is associated with a progressive decline in functioning of the immune system, resulting in low-grade inflammation called inflamm-aging. A major characteristic of this process is chronic activation of the innate immunity and increased levels of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines,” noted the study authors.

The study involved 62 subjects who were divided into groups: one group of PwP participating in BT (PDBT) and 1 group of health older people participating in BT (HBT). There were also control groups including health individuals (HNT) and PwP (PDNT). For each participant, blood samples were collected before and after 12 weeks of balance exercise (PDBT, HBT) or 12 weeks apart (PDNT, HNT).

Researchers found a significant increase of interleukin10, β-nerve growth factor, transforming growth factor-β1, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and fractalkine concentration only in the training groups. For PDBT, the results suggested a significant decrease of tumor necrosis factor alpha.

“Physical activity is meant to be a factor that accelerates the increase of bodily functions with a positive impact on balance control. Apart from improving neuroplasticity, physical activity can also modulate multiple systems that are known to regulate neuroinflammation and glial activation. It has been shown that exercise training induces transient changes in immunity responses. Exercises are considered as crucial modulators that may regulate the immune system and prevent premature immunosenescence,” said the study authors. “Systematic activity is a safe mode of intervention in preventing chronic low-grade inflammation in older people.”

Additionally, there was no training effect on concentration of interleukin6, insulin-like growth factor 1, and CD200 observed in either the training or control groups. Overall, researchers concluded that regular training would modulate the level of inflammatory markers and induce neuroprotective mechanism to reduce the inflammatory response.

The study authors noted that while the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of exercise training may be important in modulating disease processes, the mechanisms in which physical activity may be a protective agent against the development of chronic neurological diseases requires further research.


Szymura J, Kubica J, Wiecek M, et al. The Immunomodulary Effects of Systematic Exercise in Older Adults and People with Parkinson’s Disease. [published online January 9, 2020]. J Clin Med. doi: 10.3390/jcm9010184.

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