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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Mar;40(3):535-41. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31815dd057.

BDNF, metabolic risk factors, and resistance training in middle-aged individuals.

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School of Human Movement, Recreation and Performance, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.



Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and physical inactivity contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). There appears to be an association between BDNF and risk factors for MetS, and the effects of resistance training (RT) on BDNF and metabolic risk in middle-aged individuals with high and low numbers of metabolic risk factors (HiMF and LoMF, respectively) are unclear and are the focus of this research.


Forty-nine men (N = 25) and women (N = 24) aged 50.9 +/- 6.2 yr were randomized to four groups, HiMF training (HiMFT), HiMF control (HiMFC), LoMF training (LoMFT), and LoMF control (LoMFC). Before and after 10 wk of RT, participants underwent tests for muscle strength and anthropometry, and a fasting blood sample was taken. Data were analyzed using Spearman correlations and repeated-measures ANOVA.


BDNF was positively correlated with plasma triglycerides, glucose, HbA1C, and insulin resistance. BDNF was elevated in HiMF compared with LoMF (904.9 +/- 270.6 vs 709.6 +/- 239.8 respectively, P = 0.01). Training increased muscle strength and lean body mass but had no effect on BDNF levels or any examined risk factors.


BDNF levels correlated with risk factors for MetS and were elevated in individuals with HiMF. RT had no effect on BDNF levels or other risk factors for MetS. As RT has an effect on muscle strength and lean body mass, it should be added to other nonpharmacological interventions for middle-aged individuals with HiMF such as aerobic and/or diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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