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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 971841, 7 pages
Review Article

Low-Grade Inflammation and Spinal Cord Injury: Exercise as Therapy?

1Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, UNIFESP, Campus São Paulo, 04020-050 São Paulo, Brazil
2Centro de Estudos em Psicobiologia e Exercício, (CEPE), 04020-050 São Paulo, Brazil
3Laboratório de Fisiologia e Bioquímica do Exercício, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, Criciúma, SC, Brazil
4Departamento de Biociências, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, UNIFESP, Campus da Baixada Santista, Brazil
5Laboratório do Movimento Humano, Universidade São Judas Tadeu, 04020-050 São Paulo, Brazil

Received 30 November 2012; Accepted 2 February 2013

Academic Editor: Gustavo Duarte Pimentel

Copyright © 2013 Eduardo da Silva Alves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An increase in the prevalence of obesity in people with spinal cord injury can contribute to low-grade chronic inflammation and increase the risk of infection in this population. A decrease in sympathetic activity contributes to immunosuppression due to the lower activation of immune cells in the blood. The effects of physical exercise on inflammatory parameters in individuals with spinal cord injury have not been well described. We conducted a review of the literature published from 1974 to 2012. This review explored the relationships between low-grade inflammation, spinal cord injury, and exercise to discuss a novel mechanism that might explain the beneficial effects of exercise involving an increase in catecholamines and cytokines in people with spinal cord injury.