The effects of motor rehabilitation training on clinical symptoms and serum BDNF levels in Parkinson’s disease subjects

Francesco Angelucci, Jacopo Piermaria, Francesca Gelfo, Jacob Shofany, Marco Tramontano, Marco Fiore, Carlo Caltagirone, Antonella Peppe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Increasing evidence suggests that motor rehabilitation may delay Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression. Moreover, parallel treatments in animals up-regulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Thus, we investigated the effect of a motor rehabilitation protocol on PD symptoms and BDNF serum levels. Motor rehabilitation training consisted of a cycle of 20 days/month of physiotherapy divided in 3 daily sessions. Clinical data were collected at the beginning, at the end, and at 90 days follow-up. BDNF serum levels were detected by ELISA at 0, 7, 14, 21, 30, and 90 days. The follow-up period had a duration of 60 days (T30–T90). The results showed that at the end of the treatment (day 30), an improvement in extrapyramidal signs (UPDRS III; UPDRS III – Gait and Balance items), motor (6 Minute Walking Test), and daily living activities (UPDRS II; PDQ-39) was observed. BDNF levels were increased at day 7 as compared with baseline. After that, no changes in BDNF were observed during the treatment and in the successive follow-up. This study demonstrates that motor rehabilitation training is able to ameliorate PD symptoms and to increase temporarily BDNF serum levels. The latter effect may potentially contribute to the therapeutic action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • BDNF
  • Motor rehabilitation
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Physical exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology

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