Nerve growth factor (NGF) and Glial cell line‐derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) are neurotrophic factors for multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis. However, the impact of aquatic exercise intensitie on NGF and GDNF factors is less clear in patients with MS. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of 8-weeks supervised aquatic exercise of different intensities (high- intensity (HI) versus low-intensity (LI)) on serum levels of GDNF and NGF in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).
In this semi-experimental, 35 women with MS (mean age [X̅±SD]=37±9 years) were randomly assigned to either low-intensity aquatic exercise group (LI: n = 10), high-intensity aquatic exercise group (HI: n = 14), or the control group (CON: n= 11). Exercise programs consisted of aquatic aerobic exercises at either LI (50% - 70% of HRR) or HI (70% - 85% of HRR), of equal volume, 3 times per week, 30 to 60 minutes per session for 8 weeks. CON group were asked to maintain normal daily life pattern for the duration of the study. Serum levels of GDNF and NGF were measured at baseline and at the end of the study. The data were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance.
After aquatic exercise, the serum NGF and GDNF levels increased by 18% and 16% in the LI group (P < .05) and by 8% and 13% in the HI group (P < .05) compared with baseline. However, both groups showed similarly improved neurotrophic factor variables and there was no difference across the groups.
These results suggest that MS can reduce serum neurotrophic factor levels. On the other hand, aquatic aerobic exercise of intensities (50% - 70% or 70% - 85% of HRR) can similarly improve serum NGF and GDNF levels imbalance in overweight women MS.
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