Effect of resistance exercise on serum leptin levels in a prospective longitudinal study of women patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Journal: Arthritis Research & Therapy
Treatment Used: Resistance Exercise
Number of Patients: 42
MediFind Summary

Overview: This study evaluated the effect of resistance exercise in the treatment of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Conclusion: Resistance exercise can provide improvements in women with rheumatoid arthritis.


Background: Exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces fat mass. Leptin has been known to be proinflammatory adipokines mainly produced by adipocytes. However, few studies have investigated the association between exercise and changes in serum leptin levels of patients with RA. This study evaluated the effect of an individualized resistance exercise on inflammatory markers including leptin as well as muscle strength and exercise capacity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: A total of 42 age- and sex-matched participants were assigned to a resistance exercise program (60 min, once a week for 12 weeks, and self-exercise twice a week) or to a control group. Muscle strength, exercise capacities, and inflammatory markers such as cytokines and adipokines were assessed at baseline and at 12 weeks follow-up. Longitudinal changes in muscle strength, exercise capacity, cytokines, and adipokines between groups were tested with repeated measures analysis of variance or using the generalized estimating equation, with adjustment for baseline disease activity score 28-C response protein as a covariate.

Results: A total of 37 of 42 female patients with RA completed this prospective intervention study. Grip strength improved significantly in the exercise group (P < 0.05), while no between-group changes were found. Quadriceps contraction power (P for group-time interaction = 0.035 for the right side and P for group-time interaction = 0.012 for the left side) and 6-minute walking distance (P for group-time interaction = 0.021) were all improved significantly in the exercise group compared with the control group. In addition, serum leptin levels were significantly decreased in the exercise group compared with the control group (P for group-time interaction = 5.22 × 10-5), but not the other cytokines or adipokines. The change in serum leptin levels correlated with the changes in fat mass (Rho = 0.491, P= 0.015) and visceral fat area (Rho = 0.501, P= 0.013).

Conclusion: In addition to muscle strength and exercise capacity, the 12 weeks of individualized resistance exercise reduced serum leptin levels in keeping with body fat mass or visceral fat area, suggesting that serum leptin levels might be a surrogate marker of exercise in RA.

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