Exercising Daily and Managing Stress Benefits Lupus Patients, Mouse Study Suggests

Exercising Daily and Managing Stress Benefits Lupus Patients, Mouse Study Suggests

Daily moderate exercise suppresses lupus-associated kidney inflammation while social stress worsens it, researchers at Ohio State University have found.

Their study, “Daily Moderate Exercise Is Beneficial and Social Stress Is Detrimental to Disease Pathology in Murine Lupus Nephritis,” appeared in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

Physicians normally tell their lupus patients to exercise moderately for 50 minutes, at least three times a week. Other studies suggest that patients who follow stress reduction programs have better disease outcomes. However, few studies systematically address optimal exercise frequency and duration, and how exercise and stress affect tissue inflammation.

For their research, scientists at OSU used mice that spontaneously developed severe early-onset glomerulonephritis — a lupus-associated kidney disease — to study the impact of daily moderate exercise (DME) and social disruption stress (SDR) on disease progression.

By the age of 11 to 13 weeks, mice started exercising daily for 45 minutes on a treadmill at 8.5 m/min. To stress mice, researchers exposed them every day to an aggressive male for two hours during six days.

The team looked at kidneys of exercised and stressed animals and compared them to control mice. While 88 percent of non-exercising animals had significant kidney damage, only affected 45 percent of mice that exercised were diseased; that translates into a 38 percent reduction in the incidence of tissue damage. In contrast, SDR induced several parameters of lupus nephritis such as deposition of IgG and C3 complexes, lupus immunological markers.

Researchers then looked for inflammatory cells in the kidney, and for inflammatory blood markers (the cytokines IL-6, TNF-a, IL-1b and MCP-1). While exercise inhibited inflammation, stress increased it.

Overall, the study suggests that moderate exercise combined with techniques that help patients manage stress, such as Tai Chi, are likely to improve disease by controlling inflammation.

“Our preliminary data indicate that daily Tai Chi can potentially be an effective adjunct therapy to compliment current pharmacological interventions,” wrote OSU researchers, adding that a future study will characterize the molecules responsible for the benefits of exercise and reduced physiological stress.

One comment

  1. Molding Stronger Spoons says:

    Since April of this year, exercise has become a sort of ritual on a daily basis in my life. I now can jog 15 min. at 5MPH; I only dontjis once a week for now. Now don’t get me wrong, I do and have flared up. Overtime, I have experienced challenges with flare ups but not to the point of not being able to move or ending up in am ER. I don’t think I will give up this time. You knoe, it feels like the excersicr helps our bodies detox and allow the new cells that are rebuilding, do their job. Sorry, sudden thought there… Lupus can depress me. Overtime, I am experiencing a realization of logic within my physical limits. Since I have made the attempts through joint and muscles pain I can move or lay on the floor and kick my legs up or just even stretching reminds me to stay motivated to fight for my Life back. I encourage those fellow Lupus Warriors to move, move, move. You will generate you new self with movement, even if it’s stretching. It’s a start.

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