BMC Neurol. 2016 Aug 17;16(1):142
BACKGROUND: Patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases compared to the healthy population. Aerobic exercise training is one of the recommended treatments. However, literature regarding the effect of aerobic training on patients with SCI is scarce. This study evaluated changes in parameters of exercise physiology and serum myokines immediately after exercise and after a training program among patients with SCI.
METHODS: Male patients with SCI and age- and sex-matched healthy individuals were recruited. Cardio-pulmonary exercise testing (CPET) was used to determine oxygen uptake at peak exercise and anaerobic threshold in both groups. The patients with SCI attended aerobic exercise training for 36 sessions within 12-16 weeks. Basic data, hemodynamic and exercise physiology parameters, and serum myokine (myostatin, IGF-1, and follistatin) concentrations were measured pre- and post-exercise in both groups, and were repeated in patients with SCI post-training.
RESULTS: Eleven patients with SCI underwent CPET and 5 completed the training. The 11 patients and 16 healthy adults had no differences in baseline serum myokine concentrations before CPET. Immediately after the CPET, the reference group had an 18 ± 19 % increase in serum IGF-1, while the patients had no observable myokine changes. After aerobic exercise training, the 5 patients had a 48 ± 18 % increase in serum myostatin compared to the pre-training level, although the body weight and exercise physiology parameters remained unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS: Acute exercise to exhaustion in CPET results in an immediate increase in serum IGF-1 in healthy individuals while aerobic exercise training results in increased serum myostatin in patients with SCI.