Functional electrical stimulation cycling improves body composition, metabolic and neural factors in persons with spinal cord injury

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2009 Aug;19(4):614-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2008.03.002. Epub 2008 Apr 25.


Persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) are at a heightened risk of developing type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this investigation was to conduct an analysis of metabolic, body composition, and neurological factors before and after 10 weeks of functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling in persons with SCI. Eighteen individuals with SCI received FES cycling 2-3 times per week for 10 weeks. Body composition was analyzed by dual X-ray absorptiometry. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) neurological classification of SCI test battery was used to assess motor and sensory function. An oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) and insulin-response test was performed to assess blood glucose control. Additional metabolic variables including plasma cholesterol (total-C, HDL-C, LDL-C), triglyceride, and inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNF-alpha, and CRP) were also measured. Total FES cycling power and work done increased with training. Lean muscle mass also increased, whereas, bone and adipose mass did not change. The ASIA motor and sensory scores for the lower extremity significantly increased with training. Blood glucose and insulin levels were lower following the OGTT after 10 weeks of training. Triglyceride levels did not change following training. However, levels of IL-6, TNF-alpha, and CRP were all significantly reduced.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Body Composition*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin