You are not logged in. Press here to login.


List volumes - List articles in this issue

Short communication

Interval training-induced alleviation of rigidity and hypertonia in patients with Parkinson’s disease is accompanied by increased basal serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor

doi: 10.2340/16501977-1931

Open access


OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of cycloergometric interval training on parkinsonian rigidity, relaxed biceps brachii muscle tone in affected upper extremities, and serum level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
DESIGN: Case series, repeated-measures design, pilot study.
SUBJECTS/PATIENTS: Eleven patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease (Hoehn & Yahr scale 2.3 ± 0.72), recruited from a neurological clinic, underwent cycle training and were tested along with non-trained, healthy control subjects (n = 11) in a motor control laboratory.
METHODS: Patients underwent 8 weeks of interval training (3 × 1-h sessions weekly, consisting of a 10-min warm-up, 40 min of interval exercise, and 10-min cool-down) on a stationary cycloergometer. Parkinsonian rigidity (Unified Parkinson’s Disease-Rating-Scale) in the upper extremity, resting biceps brachii muscle tone (myometric stiffness and frequency), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor level were measured 1–3 days before interval training cycle started and 6–10 days after the last training session.
RESULTS: Training resulted in a decrease in rigidity (p = 0.048) and biceps brachii myometric muscle stiffness (p = 0.030) and frequency (p = 0.006), and an increase in the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (p = 0.035) relative to pre-training values. The increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor level correlated with improvements in parkinsonian rigidity (p = 0.025), biceps brachii myometric stiffness (p = 0.001) and frequency (p = 0.002).
CONCLUSION: Training-induced alleviation of parkinsonian rigidity and muscle tone decrease may be associated with neuroplastic changes caused by a training-induced increase in the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.


Jarosław Marusiak, Ewa Żeligowska , Joanna Mencel, Katarzyna Kisiel-Sajewicz , Joanna Majerczak , Jerzy A. Zoladz , Artur Jaskólski , Anna Jaskólska
Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Physiotherapy, University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw, 51-612 Wroclaw, Poland. E-mail:


1. Alberts JL, Linder SM, Penko AL, Lowe MJ, Phillips M. It is not about the bike, it is about the pedaling: forced exercise and Parkinson’s disease. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 2011; 39: 177–186.

2. Fisher BE, Wu AD, Salem GJ, Song J, Lin CH, Yip J, et al. The effect of exercise training in improving motor performance and corticomotor excitability in people with early Parkinson’s disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008; 89: 1221–1229.

3. Hackney ME, Earhart GM. Effects of dance on movement control in Parkinson’s disease: a comparison of Argentine tango and American ballroom. J Rehabil Med 2009; 41: 475–481.

4. Petzinger GM, Fisher BE, McEwen S, Beeler JA, Walsh JP, Jakowec MW. Exercise-enhanced neuroplasticity targeting motor and cognitive circuitry in Parkinson’s disease. Lancet Neurol 2013; 12: 716–726.

5. Zoladz JA, Majerczak J, Zeligowska E, Mencel J, Jaskolski A, Jaskolska A, et al. Moderate-intensity interval training increases serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor level and decreases inflammation in Parkinson’s disease patients. J Physiol Pharmacol 2014; 65: 441–448.

6. Frazzitta G, Maestri R, Ghilardi MF, Riboldazzi G, Perini M, Bertotti G, et al. Intensive rehabilitation increases BDNF serum levels in parkinsonian patients: a randomized study. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 2014; 28: 163–168.

7. Marchand-Pauvert V, Gerdelat-Mas A, Ory-Magne F, Calvas F, Mazevet D, Meunier S, et al. Both L-DOPA and HFS-STN restore the enhanced group II spinal reflex excitation to a normal level in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Clin Neurophysiol 2011; 122: 1019–1026.

8. Meara RJ, Cody FW. Stretch reflexes of individual parkinsonian patients studied during changes in clinical rigidity following medication. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1993; 89: 261–268.

9. Bartlett JD, Close GL, MacLaren DP, Gregson W, Drust B, Morton JP. High-intensity interval running is perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise: implications for exercise adherence. J Sports Sci 2011; 29: 547–553.

10. Marusiak J, Jaskólska A, Budrewicz S, Koszewicz M, Jaskólski A. Increased muscle belly and tendon stiffness in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as measured by myotonometry. Movement. Disord 2011; 26: 2119–2122.

11. Marusiak J, Jaskólska A, Koszewicz M, Budrewicz S, Jaskólski A. Myometry revealed medication-induced decrease in resting skeletal muscle stiffness in Parkinson’s disease patients. Clin Biomech 2012; 27: 632–635.

12. Fahn S, Elton RL, UPDRS program members. Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. In: Fahn S, Marsden CD, Goldstein M, Calne DB, editors. Recent developments in Parkinson’s disease, vol. 2. Florham Park, NJ: Macmillan Healthcare Information; 1987, p. 153–163.

13. Zoladz JA, Pilc A, Majerczak J, Grandys M, Zapart-Bukowska J, Duda K. Endurance training increases plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor concentration in young healthy men. J Physiol Pharmacol 2008; 59: 119–132.

14. Blugeot A1, Rivat C, Bouvier E, Molet J, Mouchard A, Zeau B, et al. Vulnerability to depression: from brain neuroplasticity to identification of biomarkers. J Neurosci 2011; 31: 12889–12899.

15. Murer MG, Boissiere F, Yan Q, Hunot S, Villares J, Faucheux B, et al. An immunohistochemical study of the distribution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the adult human brain, with particular reference to Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroscience 1999; 88: 1015–1032.

16. Gash DM, Zhang Z, Ai Y, Grondin R, Coffey R, Gerhardt GA. Trophic factor distribution predicts functional recovery in parkinsonian monkeys. Ann Neurol 2005; 58: 224–233.

17. Stahl K, Mylonakou MN, Skare Ø, Amiry-Moghaddam M, Torp R. Cytoprotective effects of growth factors: BDNF more potent than GDNF in an organotypic culture model of Parkinson’s disease. Brain Res 2011; 1378: 105–118.

Related articles

There are no related articles.



Full text



There is no supplementary for this article.

Related articles

Click here to show related articles

Print information

Volume 47, Issue 4

DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1931

Pages: 372-375

View at PubMed