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Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Jul;39:107-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.11.009. Epub 2013 Nov 17.

An exploratory study of the effect of regular aquatic exercise on the function of neutrophils from women with fibromyalgia: role of IL-8 and noradrenaline.

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Immunophysiology Research Group, Department of Physiology, Science Faculty, University of Extremadura, Spain.
Immunophysiology Research Group, Department of Physiology, Science Faculty, University of Extremadura, Spain. Electronic address:


Fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome is associated with elevated systemic inflammatory and stress biomarkers, and an elevated innate cellular response mediated by monocytes and neutrophils. Exercise is accepted as a good non-pharmacological therapy for FM. We have previously found that regular aquatic exercise decreases the release of inflammatory cytokines by monocytes from FM patients. However, its effects on the functional capacity of neutrophils have not been studied. The aim of the present exploratory study was to evaluate, in 10 women diagnosed with FM, the effect of an aquatic exercise program (8months, 2sessions/week, 60min/session) on their neutrophils' function (phagocytic process), and on IL-8 and NA as potential inflammatory and stress mediators, respectively. A control group of 10 inactive FM patients was included in the study. After 4months of the exercise program, no significant changes were observed in neutrophil function (chemotaxis, phagocytosis, or fungicidal capacity) or in IL-8 and NA. However, at the end of the exercise program (8months), a neuro-immuno-endocrine adaptation was observed, manifested by a significant decrease to values below those in the basal state in neutrophil chemotaxis, IL-8, and NA. No significant seasonal changes in these parameters were observed during the same period in the group of non-exercised FM patients. After the 8months of the exercise program, the FM patients had lower concentrations of IL-8 and NA together with reduced chemotaxis of neutrophils compared with the values determined in the same month in the control group of non-exercised FM women. These results suggest that "anti-inflammatory" and "anti-stress" adaptations may be contributing to the symptomatic benefits that have been attributed to regular aquatic exercise in FM syndrome, as was corroborated in the present study by the scores on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.


Chemotaxis; Fibromyalgia; Fungicidal activity; IL-8; Inflammation; Noradrenaline; Phagocytosis; Physical activity; Stress; Women

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