Effect of physical exercise on seizure occurrence in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy in rats

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Arida, R. M.
Scorza, F. A.
Santos, N. F. dos
Peres, C. A.
Cavalheiro, E. A.
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Although the favorable effect of physical fitness on general health is unquestionable, physical exercise and fitness programs in patients with epilepsy are still a matter of controversy. Little objective evidence regarding the effect of exercise on seizure frequency and severity has been reported. One sought to clarify the relationship between exercise and epilepsy in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy (the pilocarpine model of epilepsy). To evaluate the effect of an aerobic physical program on seizure frequency, 29 epileptic animals were continuously monitored during 24 h for 135 days after the first spontaneous recurrent seizure (SRS) and divided into three groups. the first group (N = 14) was submitted to an aerobic exercise program (training group). the second group (N = 7) was maintained in the treadmill for the same time as the training group without being submitted to physical exercise (sham group). the third group (N = 8) served as control. the behavioral observation was divided in three periods of 45 days. the first period was used to determine the number of seizures before physical training program. the second period was utilized to determine the number of seizures during the physical training program. the third period was used to analyze the frequency of seizures after the physical training program. the mean frequency of seizures in the control and sham groups increased significantly from period 1 to period 2 and from period 1 to period 3. However, in the training group, the frequency of seizures did not change significantly between the three periods of 45 days of observation. When the same periods of the three groups were analyzed together, a significant reduction in seizure frequency was observed comparing the training group with the control and sham groups during the period of physical training. the data presented in this study suggest that physical exercise is not a seizure-inducing factor in this experimental model of epilepsy. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Epilepsy Research. Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V., v. 37, n. 1, p. 45-52, 1999.