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Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2021; 18(12): , PMID: 34204400

Immunological Effects of an Add-On Physical Exercise Therapy in Depressed Adolescents and Its Interplay with Depression Severity.

Year: 2021

Wunram HL, Oberste M, Hamacher S, Neufang S, Grote N, Krischer MK, Bloch W, Schonau E, Bender S, Fricke O
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Cologne, 50937 Cologne, Germany.


BACKGROUND: Pro-inflammatory cytokines (PICs) have gained attention in the pathophysiology and treatment of depressive disorders. At the same time, the therapeutic effect of physical activity seems to work via immunomodulatory pathways. The interventional study "Mood Vibes" analyzed the influence of exercise on depression severity (primary endpoint) in depressive adolescents; the influence of PICs on the clinical outcome was analyzed as a secondary endpoint. METHODS: Clinically diagnosed depressed adolescents (N = 64; 28.1% male; mean age = 15.9; mean BMI = 24.6) were included and participated either in Whole Body Vibration (WBV) (n = 21) or bicycle ergometer training (n = 20) in addition to treatment-as-usual (TAU). Patients in the control treatment group received TAU only (n = 23). The PICs (interleukin-6-IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha-TNF-alpha) were analyzed before intervention, after 6 weeks of training (t1), and 8 weeks post-intervention (t2). The effects of the treatment on depression severity were rated by self-rating "Depression Inventory for Children and Adolescents" (DIKJ). RESULTS: Basal IL-6 decreased in all groups from t0 to t1, but it increased again in WBV and controls at t2. TNF-alpha diminished in ergometer and controls from baseline to t1. PIC levels showed no correlation with depression severity at baseline. The influence on DIKJ scores over time was significant for IL-6 in the WBV group (p = 0.008). Sex had an impact on TNF-alpha (p < 0.001), with higher concentrations in male patients. Higher body mass index was associated with higher IL-6 concentrations over all measurement points (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The positive effects of an intensive add-on exercise therapy on adolescent depression seem to be partly influenced by immunomodulation. A small sample size and non-randomized controls are limitations of this study.

GID: 5467; Last update: 05.07.2021
More information: Original Article