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Neurobiol Aging. 2016 Feb;38:181-187. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 11.

Serum BDNF correlates with connectivity in the (pre)motor hub in the aging human brain--a resting-state fMRI pilot study.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
2
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; LIFE - Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
3
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
4
Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
5
LIFE - Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
6
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; LIFE - Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; German Consortium for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, Ulm, Germany. Electronic address: schroet@cbs.mpg.de.

Abstract

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been discussed to be involved in plasticity processes in the human brain, in particular during aging. Recently, aging and its (neurodegenerative) diseases have increasingly been conceptualized as disconnection syndromes. Here, connectivity changes in neural networks (the connectome) are suggested to be the most relevant and characteristic features for such processes or diseases. To further elucidate the impact of aging on neural networks, we investigated the interaction between plasticity processes, brain connectivity, and healthy aging by measuring levels of serum BDNF and resting-state fMRI data in 25 young (mean age 24.8 ± 2.7 (SD) years) and 23 old healthy participants (mean age, 68.6 ± 4.1 years). To identify neural hubs most essentially related to serum BDNF, we applied graph theory approaches, namely the new data-driven and parameter-free approach eigenvector centrality (EC) mapping. The analysis revealed a positive correlation between serum BDNF and EC in the premotor and motor cortex in older participants in contrast to young volunteers, where we did not detect any association. This positive relationship between serum BDNF and EC appears to be specific for older adults. Our results might indicate that the amount of physical activity and learning capacities, leading to higher BDNF levels, increases brain connectivity in (pre)motor areas in healthy aging in agreement with rodent animal studies. Pilot results have to be replicated in a larger sample including behavioral data to disentangle the cause for the relationship between BDNF levels and connectivity.

KEYWORDS:

Brain connectivity; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); Eigenvector centrality (EC); Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Motor cortex; Resting-state fMRI

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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