Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroimage. 2013 Nov 15;82:510-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.06.011. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

White matter integrity in physically fit older adults.

Author information

1
Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, TX, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

White matter (WM) integrity declines with normal aging. Physical activity may attenuate age-related WM integrity changes and improve cognitive function. This study examined brain WM integrity in Masters athletes who have engaged in life-long aerobic exercise training. We tested the hypothesis that life-long aerobic training is associated with improved brain WM integrity in older adults.

METHODS:

Ten Masters athletes (3 females, age=72.2 ± 5.3 years, endurance training >15 years) and 10 sedentary older adults similar in age and educational level (2 females, age=74.5 ± 4.3 years) participated. MRI fluid-attenuated-inversion-recovery (FLAIR) images were acquired to assess white matter hyperintensities (WMH) volume. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed to evaluate the WM microstructural integrity with a DTI-derived metric, fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD).

RESULTS:

After normalization to whole-brain volume, Masters athletes showed an 83% reduction in deep WMH volume relative to their sedentary counterparts (0.05 ± 0.05% vs. 0.29 ± 0.29%, p<0.05). In addition, we found an inverse relationship between aerobic fitness (VO2max) and deep WMH volume (r=-0.78, p<0.001). Using TBSS, Masters athletes showed higher FA values in the right superior corona radiata (SCR), both sides of superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO), and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). In addition, Masters athletes also showed lower MD values in the left posterior thalamic radiation (PTR) and left cingulum hippocampus.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that life-long exercise is associated with reduced WMH and may preserve WM fiber microstructural integrity related to motor control and coordination in older adults.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Exercise; MRI; Plasticity; White matter disease

PMID:
23769914
PMCID:
PMC3759589
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.06.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center