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Neuroimage. 2016 May 1;131:142-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.10.084. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Relationships of peripheral IGF-1, VEGF and BDNF levels to exercise-related changes in memory, hippocampal perfusion and volumes in older adults.

Author information

1
Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany. Electronic address: anne.maass@med.ovgu.de.
2
Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany.
3
Institute of Physiology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany.
4
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Rostock, 18147 Rostock, Germany.
5
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
6
Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
7
Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany; Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm University, Gävlegatan 16, SE-113 30 Stockholm, Sweden.
8
Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany; European University Institute, Badia Fiesolana, Via dei Roccettini 9, 50014 San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy; Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany.
9
Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm University, Gävlegatan 16, SE-113 30 Stockholm, Sweden.
10
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Angiology and Pneumology, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
11
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany; Department of Neurology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Brenneckestr. 6, 39118 Magdeburg, Germany.
12
Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Versbacherstr. 5, 97078 Würzburg, Germany.
13
Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany; Department of Neurology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London, UK. Electronic address: emrah.duezel@dzne.de.

Abstract

Animal models point towards a key role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in mediating exercise-induced structural and functional changes in the hippocampus. Recently, also platelet derived growth factor-C (PDGF-C) has been shown to promote blood vessel growth and neuronal survival. Moreover, reductions of these neurotrophic and angiogenic factors in old age have been related to hippocampal atrophy, decreased vascularization and cognitive decline. In a 3-month aerobic exercise study, forty healthy older humans (60 to 77years) were pseudo-randomly assigned to either an aerobic exercise group (indoor treadmill, n=21) or to a control group (indoor progressive-muscle relaxation/stretching, n=19). As reported recently, we found evidence for fitness-related perfusion changes of the aged human hippocampus that were closely linked to changes in episodic memory function. Here, we test whether peripheral levels of BDNF, IGF-I, VEGF or PDGF-C are related to changes in hippocampal blood flow, volume and memory performance. Growth factor levels were not significantly affected by exercise, and their changes were not related to changes in fitness or perfusion. However, changes in IGF-I levels were positively correlated with hippocampal volume changes (derived by manual volumetry and voxel-based morphometry) and late verbal recall performance, a relationship that seemed to be independent of fitness, perfusion or their changes over time. These preliminary findings link IGF-I levels to hippocampal volume changes and putatively hippocampus-dependent memory changes that seem to occur over time independently of exercise. We discuss methodological shortcomings of our study and potential differences in the temporal dynamics of how IGF-1, VEGF and BDNF may be affected by exercise and to what extent these differences may have led to the negative findings reported here.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Exercise; Hippocampus; Neurotrophic factors; Vascular plasticity

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