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Effect of exercise on reactivity and motor behaviour in patients with Parkinson's disease
  1. Thomas Müller1,2,
  2. Siegfried Muhlack1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, St Josef Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
  2. 2Department of Neurology, St Joseph Hospital Berlin-Weißensee, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Prof Thomas Müller, Department of Neurology, St Joseph Hospital Berlin-Weißensee, Gartenstr. 1, 13 088 Berlin, Germany; th.mueller{at}


Background Following cued levodopa (LD) intake, endurance exercise showed a beneficial effect on scored motor performance in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) in comparison with rest. This may result from an exercise induced increase in endogenous dopamine synthesis. As a result, beneficial effects on movement and reactivity may occur.

Objectives To measure reactivity and motor performance in a repeated fashion with instrumental tasks after cued administration of soluble 200 mg of LD/50 mg of benserazide.

Design PD patients consecutively performed paradigms, which assess reactivity and movement performance, after a standardised period of rest or of age-related, heart rate adapted endurance exercise on two consecutive days in a random order.

Results Reactivity and execution of simple and complex motion series were significantly better following exercise than after rest.

Discussion Endurance exercise has a beneficial effect on reactivity and movement behaviour in PD patients following cued application of LD probably due to an augmented synthesis and release of dopamine and other catecholamines and release in the prefrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens and the basal ganglia. Small changes in catecholamine modulation of prefrontal cortex cells can have profound effects on the ability of the prefrontal cortex to guide behaviour. Previous exercise may also improve pedunculopontine nucleus function, which is involved in motor-related attention processes.

  • Parkinson's disease
  • levodopa
  • exercise
  • movement disorders
  • neurophysiology
  • motor
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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Bochum Ruhr University, Germany.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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