Effects of Tai Chi on biomarkers and their implication to neurorehabilitation – a systemic review

Howe Liu, Yasser Salem, Sonali Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: As an effective holistic therapeutic exercise program, Tai Chi has been widely used for patients with a variety of neurological disorders. In last 1-2 decades, there has been an increase in the number of research studies that examined the Tai Chi effects on biomarkers including inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stressors, and neurotrophic factors. Thus, the purpose of this article was to review such effects and their possible implication to neurorehabilitation. Method: In this systematic review, we searched Tai Chi-related articles from the last 15 years until July 2020 that had investigated changes of biomarkers after Tai Chi practice. The search identified 24 studies (21 randomized control trials, 2 cross-sectional studies, and 1 single group pre- and post- comparison) that were included in our analysis. Results: Tai Chi practice may be able to 1) reduce pro-inflammatory contributors (Interleukins -1, 6, 10, 12, tumor necrosis factor, the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, and the C-reactive protein) and increase anti-inflammatory cytokines (Interleukins -10 and 13); 2) decrease oxidative stress factors (like plasma 8-isoprostane, malondialdehyde, and protein carbonylation); and 3) increase neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and N-Acetylaspartate). Conclusions: Tai Chi practice mediates anti-inflammation, anti-oxidative stress, and neural plasticity indicating its effect on modulating the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration and on potential effectiveness in neurorehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101391
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammatory cytokines
  • Neurological disorders
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Oxidative stressors
  • Systematic review
  • Tai Chi


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