Open Access Open Badges Research article

Effect of physical training on airway inflammation in animal models of asthma: a systematic review

Vanessa Luks1, Andrew Burkett1, Lucy Turner2 and Smita Pakhale3*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Respirology, The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

2 The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

3 Divison of Respirology, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2013, 13:24  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-13-24

Published: 24 April 2013



There is little data on the effect of exercise on markers of airway inflammation in human asthmatics. The main objective of this review is to determine the effects of physical training on markers of airway inflammation in animal models of asthma.


A peer reviewed search was applied to Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane, and DARE databases. Data extraction was performed in a blinded fashion.


From the initial 2336 studies, a total of 10 studies were selected for the final analysis. All were randomized controlled trials with low to moderate intensity training on ovalbumin-sensitized mice. In the exercised group of mice, there was a reduction in BAL eosinophils and Th-2 cytokines, no change in Th-1 cytokines, an increase in IL-10, and a reversal of airway remodeling. The data was not pooled owing to significant heterogeneity between studies, and a funnel plot test for publication bias was not performed because there were few studies reporting on any one outcome measure. The asthma models differed between studies in age and gender of mice, as well as in timing of physical training after sensitization. The risk of bias was unclear for some studies though this may not influence outcome measures. The accuracy of data extracted from graphics is unknown.


Physical training improves airway inflammation in animal asthma models.

Chronic airway inflammation; Physical exercise; Asthma therapy; Systematic review