BACKGROUND-- Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM); its benefit to immune function, however, remains to be determined.
OBJECTIVE-- This study investigated the effect of a 12-week course of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) exercise on T cell helper (Th) reaction in type 2 DM patients.
DESIGH AND METHODS -- This study was a case-control design. Thirty pairs of type 2 DM patients and normal age-matched adults completed this study. Fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, mediators (IL-12, IL-4 and TGFƒÒ) and transcription factors (T-bet, GATA-3 and FoxP3) of Th1/Th2/T regulatory (Treg) reaction were measured before and after a 12-week TCC exercise program. RESULTS -- Fasting glucose and HbA1c levels in the participating type 2 DM patients were significantly higher than age-matched controls before exercise. After the TCC exercise, HbA1c levels in type 2 DM patients significantly decreased (7.59 ¡Ó 0.32 vs. 7.16 ¡Ó 0.22 %; P= 0.047), along with a significant increase of blood IL-12 levels (5.96 ¡Ó 1.10 vs. 12.96 ¡Ó 3.07; P = 0.035). To probe molecular Th1/Th2/Treg reaction, we found that type 2 DM patients had lower T-bet, but not GATA-3 or FoxP3 expression than normal controls before TCC exercise. After the 12-week TCC exercise, T-bet expression significantly increased in type 2 DM patients.
CONCLUSIONS -- A 12-week TCC exercise program decreases HbA1c levels, along with increase of the Th1 reaction. A combination of TCC with medication may provide even better in both metabolism and immunity of type 2 DM patients.
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