Therapeutic electrical stimulation and immune status in healthy men

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Abstract

In physical and rehabilitation medicine, there are few reports on the effects of therapeutic low-frequency electrical stimulation on the immune response of the organism, even though electrical stimulation is used widely in clinical practice and sports medicine. The aim of our study was to examine the possible immunological consequences of moderate transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) for quadriceps muscle strengthening in healthy individuals. The study included twelve healthy male adult volunteers (mean age 42 years) without contraindications for electrical stimulation. At the beginning and immediately after a 20-min session of NMES of quadriceps muscles, peripheral blood was collected to analyse the biochemical blood components (creatinine, creatine kinase, estimated glomerular filtration rate, cortisol), differential white blood cell count and immunological parameters. The intensity of NMES was set at maximum tolerance, eliciting on average about one-sixth of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction of the same leg. No statistically significant differences in the average group level were found in any of the measured biochemical blood components, white blood cell count or immunological parameters after the NMES session. On an individual level, the changes in creatine kinase, estimated glomerular filtration rate, basophils and some immunological parameters correlated with changes in the cortisol level. We can conclude that moderate transcutaneous low-frequency electrical stimulation for quadriceps muscle strengthening used in our study did not induce essential changes in immune status in healthy men.

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