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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 8;9(1):e85163. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085163. eCollection 2014.

Impact of a single bout of aerobic exercise on regional brain perfusion and activation responses in healthy young adults.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2
Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
3
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
4
Department of Radiology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
5
Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Despite the generally accepted view that aerobic exercise can have positive effects on brain health, few studies have measured brain responses to exercise over a short time span. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact within one hour of a single bout of exercise on brain perfusion and neuronal activation.

METHODS:

Healthy adults (n = 16; age range: 20-35 yrs) were scanned using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) before and after 20 minutes of exercise at 70% of their age-predicted maximal heart rate. Pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pcASL) was used to measure absolute cerebral blood flow (CBF) prior to exercise (pre) and at 10 min (post-10) and 40 min (post-40) post-exercise. Blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) was performed pre and post-exercise to characterize activation differences related to a go/no-go reaction time task.

RESULTS:

Compared to pre-exercise levels, grey matter CBF was 11% (±9%) lower at post-10 (P<0.0004) and not different at post-40 (P = 0.12), while global WM CBF was increased at both time points post-exercise (P<0.0006). Regionally, the hippocampus and insula showed a decrease in perfusion in ROI-analysis at post-10 (P<0.005, FDR corrected), whereas voxel-wise analysis identified elevated perfusion in the left medial postcentral gyrus at post-40 compared to pre (pcorrected = 0.05). BOLD activations were consistent between sessions, however, the left parietal operculum showed reduced BOLD activation after exercise.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides preliminary evidence of regionalized brain effects associated with a single bout of aerobic exercise. The observed acute cerebrovascular responses may provide some insight into the brain's ability to change in relation to chronic interventions.

PMID:
24416356
PMCID:
PMC3885687
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0085163
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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