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Eur J Sport Sci. 2019 Sep 8:1-12. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2019.1660726. [Epub ahead of print]

A preliminary investigation of acute exercise intensity on memory and BDNF isoform concentrations.

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Elon University , Elon , NC , USA.
University of North Carolina , Greensboro , NC , USA.


Little is known about the biological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effect of acute exercise on memory or the influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on this effect. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a putative biological mechanism, and while findings from human studies are equivocal, they have neglected to assess how exercise affects individual BDNF isoform (proBDNF, mBDNF) concentrations in serum or the influence of the BDNF val66met SNP on BDNF isoform concentrations. Therefore, the objective of this study was to conduct an exploratory assessment of the effect of acute exercise intensity on memory performance and BDNF isoform concentrations relative to carrier status of the BDNF val66met SNP met allele and to provide guidance for future, fully-powered trials. Memory and BDNF isoform concentrations were assessed in three exercise groups (light intensity, vigorous intensity, and non-exercise) relative to BDNF met carrier status. Analyses revealed that BDNF isoform concentrations and memory were differentially affected by exercise intensity and BDNF met carrier status. Vigorous intensity exercise increased mBDNF, and BDNF met carriers had lower mBDNF concentration. Light intensity exercise improved memory, and over 24 h, memory was worse for BDNF met carriers. Implications from this work will help direct future mechanistic studies of the exercise-memory relationship.


Exercise; cognition; genetics

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