The Role of Physical Activity on Modulation of Nerve Growth Factors [Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)] in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 MSc Student, Department of Sport Physiology, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Sport Physiology, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

4 PhD Student, Department of Sport Physiology, School of Humanity, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Multiple sclerosis is a common cause of neurological disability in adults and a disease with largely unknown and complex etiology that characterizes with axonal damage and central nervous system demyelination. One of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis is nerve growth factors. On the other hand, physical activity can be one of the effective mechanisms in modulation of neural growth factors in patients with multiple sclerosis. The purpose of this review was the systematic investigation of the effect of physical activity on nerve growth factors in ppatients with multiple sclerosis.Methods: A systematic review was made based on Medical Subject Headings system word on the databases of Pubmed, Googlescholar, Sciencedirect and Springer in English and the databases of Magiran and (SID) in Persian. The inclusion criteria were studies published in English or Persian, during a 15-year period, only in patients with multiple sclerosis, with sport or physical activity intervention, and assessment of nerve growth factors. Methodology assessed through Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.Findings: Between 161 reviewed studies, 9 that had the criteria were selected. Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale mean was 6.55. Studies had mostly assessed brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (8 studies) and nerve growth factor (NGF) (4 studies). Most of the results indicated that physical activity lead to an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor but is not associated with significant changes in nerve growth factor.Conclusion: Although further studies are needed, regular physical activity can be considered as an adjuvant therapy in multiple sclerosis. It can affect multiple sclerosis disease process through regulation of nerve growth factors.


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