Songül Bağlan Yentur1, Zübeyde Ercan1, Gülnihal Deniz2, Ahmet Karataş3, Mustafa Gür3, Gökhan Alkan4, Süleyman Serdar Koca3

1Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Fırat University Faculty of Health Science, Elazığ, Türkiye
2Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Erzurum Technical University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Erzurum, Türkiye
3Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Fırat University, Faculty of Medicine, Elazığ, Türkiye
4Deparment of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Fırat University Faculty of Medicine, Elazığ, Türkiye

Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, rheumatoid arthritis, physical exercise.


Objectives: The study aimed to investigate the variation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels following acute exercise in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Patients and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted with 88 participants (25 males, 63 females; mean age: 45.1±8.3 years; range, 18 to 65 years) between July 2020 and May 2021. Of the participants, 44 were RA patients, and 44 were age-and sex-matched healthy controls. Aerobic exercise was utilized in all participants for a single session. Depression and anxiety levels were evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Blood samples were collected from all subjects before and immediately after the intervention.

Results: Serum BDNF levels (both baseline and after exercise) were similar in the RA and control groups. Although serum BDNF levels significantly decreased in both groups after aerobic exercise (Wilcoxon rank p<0.05), ΔBDNF levels were significantly higher in the RA group than in the control group (p=0.047). Additionally, ΔBDNF levels were significantly correlated with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores in the RA group (p<0.05) but not in the control group.

Conclusion: A single bout of exercise may effectively decrease serum BDNF levels in patients with RA and healthy subjects. The long-term effect of exercise on BDNF levels should be investigated in prospective studies.

Citation: Bağlan Yentur S, Ercan Z, Deniz G, Karataş A, Gür M, Alkan G, et al. Effects of acute aerobic exercise on brain-derived neurotrophic factor level in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arch Rheumatol 2023;38(2):209-216. doi: 10.46497/ArchRheumatol.2023.9599.

Ethics Committee Approval

The study protocol was approved by the Fırat University Clinical Research Ethics Committee (date: 14.11.2019, no: 04). The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Author Contributions

Study conception and design, draft manuscript preparation and literature review: S.B.Y.; Data collection: S.B.Y., Z.E., G.D., S.S.K.; Analysis and interpretation of results: S.B.Y., S.S.K.; Critical review: S.B.Y., Z.E., S.S.K.; All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.

Data Sharing Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.