Research Reports - Temperature and heart rate responses to exercise following mild traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 Feb 15;30(4):281-91

Griesbach GS, Tio DL, Nair S, Hovda DA

Abstract We have previously reported that mild fluid percussion injury (FPI) is
associated with a heightening of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response
during the first post-injury weeks. This is the same time period when
rehabilitative exercise has been strongly suggested to be ineffective. Here, we
explored whether cardiac and temperature autonomic function may also be
compromised during this early post-injury period. Following an FPI or sham
injury, rats were exercised with forced (fRW) or voluntary (vRW) running wheels
on post-injury days 0-4 and 7-11. Results indicated that overall activity levels
were decreased and circadian rhythm was affected after FPI. Autonomic disruptions
became evident when exercise was introduced, and these disruptions were dependent
upon the characteristics of exercise. Elevations in heart rate (HR) and core body
temperature (CBT) were observed as a response to vRW and fRW. FPI animals had
more pronounced increases in HR as a result of vRW. Likewise, increases in HR
were observed with fRW in all animals. A strong stress response has recently been
associated with fRW exercise. FPI rats exposed to fRW were more responsive to
experimental manipulations and had higher a CBT after the FRW session. The
results suggest that subacute exercise, particularly if linked to a strong stress
response, may be counterproductive. Here we show that cardiac and temperature
autonomic function are compromised during the subacute period following a mild

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