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    Neuromuscular dysfunction and exercise training in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a narrative review

    Orlando, G ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6721-8248, Balducci, S, Boulton, AJM, Degens, H ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7399-4841 and Reeves, ND (2022) Neuromuscular dysfunction and exercise training in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a narrative review. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 183. p. 109183. ISSN 0168-8227

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    Abstract

    Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a common condition that is associated with neuromuscular dysfunction and peripheral sensory impairment. These deficits predispose patients to sensory and motor system limitations, foot ulcers and a high risk of falls. Exercise training has been proposed as an effective tool to alleviate neural deficits and improve whole-body function. Here we review the effects of DPN on neuromuscular function, the mechanisms underlying this impairment, and the neural and muscular adaptations to exercise training. Muscle dysfunction is an early hallmark of DPN. Deficits in muscle strength, power, mass and a greater fatigability are particularly severe in the lower extremity muscles. Non-enzymatic glycation of motor proteins, impaired excitation–contraction coupling and loss of motor units have been indicated as the main factors underlying muscular dysfunction. Among the exercise-based solutions, aerobic training improves neural structure and function and ameliorates neuropathic signs and symptoms. Resistance training induces marked improvement of muscle performance and may alleviate neuropathic pain. A combination of aerobic and resistance training (i.e., combined training) restores small sensory nerve damage, reduces symptoms, and improves muscle function. The evidence so far suggests that exercise training is highly beneficial and should be included in the standard care for DPN patients.

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