Aerobic Exercise Helps Cognitive Function In Older Adults

WASHINGTON — Older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s who followed a 26-week structured aerobic exercise training had improved brain function and brain health, a study has found.

The study, published in the journal “Frontiers in Endocrinology”, showed the positive association between Cathepsin B (CTSB) and cognition, and the substantial modulation of lipid metabolites implicated in dementia,

Increasing evidence shows that physical activity and exercise training may delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In aging humans, aerobic exercise training increases grey and white matter volume, enhances blood flow, and improves memory function.

The ability to measure the effects of exercise on systemic biomarkers associated with risk for Alzheimer’s disease and relating them to key metabolomic alterations may further prevention, monitoring, and treatment efforts. Unfortunately, however, systemic biomarkers that can measure exercise effects on brain function and link to relevant metabolic responses are lacking.

To address this issue, Henriette van Praag, Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and Brain Institute tested the hypotheses that three specific biomarkers, which are implicated in learning and memory, would increase in older adults following exercise training and correlate with cognition and metabolomics markers of brain health.

Praag was accompanied by Ozioma Okonkwo, Ph.D., Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their collaborators.

They examined myokine CTSB, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and klotho, as well as metabolomics, which have become increasingly utilized to understand biochemical pathways that may be affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Results showed that plasma CTSB levels were increased following this 26-week structured aerobic exercise training in older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, verbal learning and memory correlated positively with CTSB change but was not related to brain-derived neurotrophic factor or klotho.

“Our findings position CTSB, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and klotho as exercise biomarkers for evaluating the effect of lifestyle interventions on brain function,” van Praag, corresponding author, an associate professor of biomedical science, FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, and a member of the FAU Brain Institute and the FAU Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH), said.

“Human studies often utilize expensive and low throughput brain imaging analyses that are not practical for large population-wide studies. Systemic biomarkers that can measure the effect of exercise interventions on Alzheimer’s-related outcomes quickly and at low-cost could be used to inform disease progression and to develop novel therapeutic targets.”

CTSB, a lysosomal enzyme, is secreted from muscle into circulation after exercise and is associated with memory function and adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Older adults with cognitive impairment have lower serum and brain CTSB levels.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein that is upregulated in the rodent hippocampus and cortex by running and is important for adult neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and memory function.

Klotho is a circulating protein that can enhance cognition and synaptic function and is associated with resilience to neurodegenerative disease, possibly by supporting brain structures responsible for memory and learning.

“The positive association between CTSB and cognition, and the substantial modulation of lipid metabolites implicated in dementia, support the beneficial effects of exercise training on brain function and brain health in asymptomatic individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” van Praag said.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Anindita Ghosh and Nikita Nikhil)



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