Effects of Physical Exercise on Neuroinflammation, Neuroplasticity, Neurodegeneration, and Behavior: What We Can Learn From Animal Models in Clinical Settings.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Physical exercise is a cornerstone in the management of many neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, and stroke. However, much of its beneficial effects on improving motor functions and cognition as well as decreasing neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation are not yet well understood. The obvious limitations of studying the protective mechanisms behind exercise, for example, brain plasticity and neurodegeneration, could be overcome by generating novel animal models of neurodegenerative disorders. In this narrative review, we discuss the beneficial effects of exercise performed in animal models of neurodegenerative disorders and how the results from animal studies can be used in clinical settings. From preclinical studies, the positive effects of exercise have been related to increased levels of neurotrophic factors, elevated expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and activated microglia. It is clear that parameters influencing the effect of exercise, such as intensity, still remain to be investigated in animal studies in order to find the optimal program that can be translated into exercise interventions for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Neurosciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-589
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch