Publication Type:

Journal Article


Neurochem International, Volume 61, Issue 2, p.141-145 (2012)



Animals, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Corticosterone, Demyelinating Diseases, Evoked Potentials, Motor, Exercise Therapy, Immunosuppression, male, Neural Conduction, Neuritis, Autoimmune, Experimental, Peripheral Nervous System Diseases, Physical Conditioning, Animal, Rats, Rats, Inbred Lew, sciatic nerve, Transcortin


Physical inactivity in combination with a sedentary lifestyle is strongly associated with an increased risk of development of inflammatory-mediated diseases, including autoimmune disorders. Recent studies suggest that anti-inflammatory effects of physical exercise may be of therapeutic value in some affected individuals. In this study, we determined the effects of forced-exercise (treadmill running) on the development and progression of experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN), an established animal model of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Adult male Lewis rats were subjected to sedentary (control) or forced-exercise (1.2 km per day, 5 days a week) for three weeks prior to induction of EAN. P2 (53-78)-immunized sedentary control rats developed a monophasic course of EAN beginning on post-injection day 12.33 ± 0.59 (n = 18) and reaching peak severity on day 15.83 ± 0.35 (n = 18). At near peak of disease, ankle- and sciatic notch-evoked compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes in sedentary control rats were reduced (~50%) while motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) was slowed (~30%) compared with pre-induction evoked responses. In marked contrast, rats undergoing forced-exercise exhibited a significantly less severe clinical course of EAN beginning on post-injection day 12.63 ± 0.53 (n = 16) and reaching peaking severity on day 14.69 ± 0.73 (n = 16). At near peak of disease, ankle- and sciatic-notch-evoked CMAP amplitudes in forced-exercised rats were preserved while EAN-associated slowing of MNCV was modestly attenuated by exercise. Three weeks of forced-exercise reduced by 46% total plasma corticosterone content while elevating the levels of corticosteroid binding globulin. We conclude from this study that forced-exercise administered prior to and during development of EAN affords a novel measure of protection against autoimmune-associated deficits in peripheral nerve evoked responses independent of steroid-induced immune suppression.

Cite this Research Publication

M. W. Calik, Dr. Sahadev Shankarappa, and Stubbs, E. B., “Forced-exercise attenuates experimental autoimmune neuritis.”, Neurochem International, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 141-145, 2012.