The beneficial effects of physical exercise on antioxidant status in asthmatic children

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2011 Mar-Apr;39(2):90-5. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2010.04.006. Epub 2011 Jan 15.


Background: The pathogenesis of asthma involves both airway inflammation and an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance. It is demonstrated in asthmatic adults that exercise programmes improve lung function, a mechanism yet to be elucidated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible beneficial effects of physical exercise on antioxidant status in asthmatic children which may lead to ameliorated lung function.

Methods: The study enrolled thirteen control and thirty asthmatic children. The asthmatic group was subdivided into two: the first group receiving only pharmacological treatment (n=15) and the second receiving pharmacological treatment with exercise programme (n=15) for 8 weeks. Blood samples were drawn from the subjects before and after treatment periods. As oxidant stress markers blood levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and total nitric oxide (NO), and as antioxidant status, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme activities were assessed.

Results: Before any treatment was initiated, MDA and NO levels in the asthmatic group were significantly higher than the controls (3.40±0.96 nmol/ml vs 2.46±0.58 nmol/ml, and 12.53±2.10 vs 9.40±1.39 micromol/L, respectively). Both SOD (p=0.0001) and GSH-Px (p=0.023) activities were significantly lower in the asthmatic group. Pharmacological treatment and exercise programme together significantly improved lung performance and decreased the levels of oxidant stress markers, in concordance with a significantly increase in antioxidant enzyme activity measures when compared to the pharmacological treatment.

Conclusion: Structured exercise programme in asthmatic children resulted in better lung function, which may be attributed to its effect on antioxidant status.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Child
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Oxidative Stress* / immunology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase