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A single session of moderate intensity exercise influences memory, endocannabinoids and brain derived neurotrophic factor levels in men.

ABSTRACT: Regular physical exercise enhances memory functions, synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Likewise, short periods of exercise, or acute exercise, benefit hippocampal plasticity in rodents, via increased endocannabinoids (especially anandamide, AEA) and BDNF release. Yet, it remains unknown whether acute exercise has similar effects on BDNF and AEA levels in humans, with parallel influences on memory performance. Here we combined blood biomarkers, behavioral, and fMRI measurements to assess the impact of a single session of physical exercise on associative memory and underlying neurophysiological mechanisms in healthy male volunteers. For each participant, memory was tested after three conditions: rest, moderate or high intensity exercise. A long-term memory retest took place 3 months later. At both test and retest, memory performance after moderate intensity exercise was increased compared to rest. Memory after moderate intensity exercise correlated with exercise-induced increases in both AEA and BNDF levels: while AEA was associated with hippocampal activity during memory recall, BDNF enhanced hippocampal memory representations and long-term performance. These findings demonstrate that acute moderate intensity exercise benefits consolidation of hippocampal memory representations, and that endocannabinoids and BNDF signaling may contribute to the synergic modulation of underlying neural plasticity mechanisms.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8277796 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies