Exercise training-induced changes in exerkine concentrations may be relevant to the metabolic control of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Background: This study investigates the effects of exercise training on exerkines in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus to determine the optimal exercise prescription.

Methods: A systematic search for relevant studies was performed in 3 databases. Randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of exercise training on at least one of the following exerkines were included: adiponectin, apelin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, fetuin-A, fibroblast growth factor-21, follistatin, ghrelin, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-15, IL-18, leptin, myostatin, omentin, resistin, retinol-binding protein 4, tumor necrosis factor-α, and visfatin.

Results: Forty randomized controlled trials were selected for data extraction (n = 2160). Exercise training induces changes in adiponectin, fetuin-A, fibroblast growth factor-21, IL-6, IL-10, leptin, resistin, and tumor necrosis factor-α levels but has no significant effects on apelin, IL-18, and ghrelin compared to controls. Physical exercise training favored large and positive changes in pooled exerkines (i.e., an overall effect size calculated from several exerkines) (Hedge's g = 1.02, 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.76−1.28), which in turn were related to changes in glycated hemoglobin (mean difference (MD) = −0.81%, 95%CI: −0.95% to −0.67%), fasting glucose (MD = −23.43 mg/dL, 95%CI: −30.07 mg/dL to −16.80 mg/dL), waist circumference (MD = −3.04 cm, 95%CI: −4.02 cm to −2.07 cm), and body mass (MD = −1.93 kg, 95%CI: −2.00 kg to −1.86 kg). Slightly stronger effects were observed with aerobic, resistance, or high-intensity interval protocols at moderate- to vigorous-intensity and with programs longer than 24 weeks that comprise at least 3 sessions per week and more than 60 min per session.

Conclusion: Exercise training represents an anti-inflammatory therapy and metabolism-improving strategy with minimal side effects for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.