Effects of exercise training on airway closure in asthmatics

Nicola Scichilone, Giuseppe Morici, Daniele Zangla, Rita Arrigo, Irene Cardillo, Vincenzo Bellia, Maria Rosaria Bonsignore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We previously reported that responsiveness to methacholine (Mch) in the absence of deep inspiration (DI) decreased in healthy subjects after a short course of exercise training. We assessed whether a similar beneficial effect of exercise on airway responsiveness could occur in asthmatics. Nine patients (male/female: 3/6; mean age ± SD: 24 ± 2 yr) with mild untreated asthma [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): 100 ± 7.4% pred; FEV1/vital capacity (VC): 90 ± 6.5%] underwent a series of single-dose Mch bronchoprovocations in the absence of DI in the course of a 10-wk training rowing program (6 h/wk of submaximal and maximal exercise), at baseline (week 0), and at week 5 and 10. The single-dose Mch was established as the dose able to induce ≥15% reduction in inspiratory vital capacity (IVC) and was administered to each subject at every challenge occasion. Five asthmatics (male/ female: 1/4; mean age ± SD: 26 ± 3 yr) with similar baseline lung function (FEV1: 102 ± 7.0% predicted; FEV1/VC: 83 ± 6.0%; P = 0.57 and P = 0.06, respectively) not participating in the exercise training program served as controls. In the trained group, the Mchinduced reduction in IVC from baseline was 22 ± 10% at week 0, 13 ± 11% at week 5 (P = 0.03), and 11 ± 8% at week 10 (P = 0.028). The Mch-induced reduction in FEV1 did not change with exercise (P = 0.69). The reduction in responsiveness induced by exercise was of the same magnitude of that previously obtained in healthy subjects (50% with respect to pretraining). Conversely, Mch-induced reduction in IVC in controls remained unchanged after 10 wk (%reduction IVC at baseline: 21 ± 20%; after 10 wk: 29 ± 14%; P = 0.28). This study indicates that a short course of physical training is capable of reducing airway responsiveness in mild asthmatics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-718
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Bronchoprovocation test
  • Deep inspiration
  • Physical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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