Physical activity and exercise attenuate neuroinflammation in neurological diseases.
Brain Res Bull. 2016 Mar 26 ;125:19-29. Epub 2016 Mar 26. PMID: 27021169
Lindsay Joy Spielman
Major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia (SCH), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Parkinson's disease (PD) are devastating neurological disorders, which increasingly contribute to global morbidity and mortality. Although the pathogenic mechanisms of these conditions are quite diverse, chronic neuroinflammation is one underlying feature shared by all these diseases. Even though the specific root causes of these diseases remain to be identified, evidence indicates that the observed neuroinflammation is initiated by unique pathological features associated with each specific disease. If the initial acute inflammation is not resolved, a chronic neuroinflammatory state develops and ultimately contributes to disease progression. Chronic neuroinflammation is characterized by adverse and non-specific activation of glial cells, which can lead to collateral damage of nearby neurons and other glia. This misdirected neuroinflammatory response is hypothesized to contribute to neuropathology in MDD, SCH, AD, and PD. Physical activity (PA), which is critical for maintenance of whole body and brain health, may also beneficially modify neuroimmune responses. Since PA has neuroimmune-modifying properties, and the common underlying feature of MDD, SCH, AD, and PD is chronic neuroinflammation, we hypothesize that PA could minimize brain diseases by modifying glia-mediated neuroinflammation. This review highlights current evidence supporting the disease-altering potential of PA and exercise through modifications of neuroimmune responses, specifically in MDD, SCH, AD and PD.