Background The SLEEP study examines the effect of an exercise therapy against a control group with TAU therapy (Treatment as usual) in SLE to identify the effect of regular physical activity on muscular development. Furthermore, we investigate the effect of physical activity on disease activity and especially on fatigue syndrome. Molecular biological markers such as cfDNA and exosomes also detect the degree of the prostration of the patients.
Methods Thirty SLE patients with laboratory as well as clinically stable status were included. The intervention group initially consisted of 24 patients, of which 12 were aerobically and 12 anaerobically active. In contrast, eight patients were included in a control group who did not do any sports. After a sports performance test had been performed, the patients were sent to a weekly training plan for a total of 12 weeks. The training was individually adapted to their performance, via an Internet platform. At the end of the week, the training plan for the following week was developed according to the patient feedback and its evaluation.
Results First evaluations show laboratory chemically stable humoral systemic activity (ANA, dsDNA-Ak, C3c, C4). Two-third of the patients reported a reduction in fatigue and a significant improvement in physical fitness. With regard to the sports medical examination before and after the 3-month training program, a significant increase in VO2peak (p<0.001) was observed. In addition, a significant increase in muscle strength and a reduction in body fat could be demonstrated.
Conclusion Due to the initial significantly reduced cardiorespiratory fitness of the patients, but with promising first data showing a benefit of the patients after the training program, a follow-up study with a larger SLE patient collective over a period of 2 years is planned. In addition, a murine comparative study will be initiated in the spontaneous lupus mouse model of the MRL-Fas lpr mice. On the one hand, the influence of physical exercise on disease activity and progression of SLE should be analysed. Furthermore, we want to investigate the effects of physical activity on the musculature (inflammation, necrosis and fibrosis) and cardiovascular damage.
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