Associations between exercise, inflammation and symptom severity in those with mental health disorders

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Abstract

Aim

This study aimed to investigate the effects of 6-weeks of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on markers of inflammation and symptom severity in those undergoing management of a mental health disorder.

Method

Twenty six participants were allocated into two groups, those reporting as apparently healthy (AH, n = 13) or those undergoing the management of a mental health disorder (MI, n = 13). Following a baseline testing and familiarization session, participants commenced the 6-week aerobic training intervention, involving stationary cycling at 65% heart rate reserve for 35 min progressing to 70% for 40 min. Measures of aerobic fitness (VO2peak), anthropometric variables, symptom questionnaires and venous blood were collect pre- and post-intervention. Venous blood was assessed for nod-like receptor pyrin containing-3, interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), IL-1β, C-reactive protein (CRP) and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).

Results

There were no baseline differences between groups, however following the intervention the AH demonstrated lower TNF-α (p = 0.049) than the MI group. Within change was observed for the MI group with an increase in VO2peak (p = 0.049) and declines in symptom severity (p = 0.00–0.005). Significant correlations between variables indicated a positive association between body fat, body fat percentage, CRP and symptom severity (p = 0.01–0.04). Conversely, symptom severity and CRP were inversely associated with VO2peak values (p = 0.02–0.04).

Conclusion

Six-weeks of moderate intensity aerobic exercise increases VO2peak and reduces symptom severity in those currently undergoing management of a mental health disorder. Further, there may be a physiological link between aerobic capacity, symptom severity, inflammation and adiposity, however greater exploration is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155648
Number of pages5
JournalCytokine
Volume146
Early online date25 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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