Resistance Training: A Valuable Ally Against Alzheimer’s Disease – Neuroscience News

Summary: Regular physical exercise, especially resistance training, can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Using a mouse model, the team showed reductions in Alzheimer’s indicators, such as beta-amyloid plaques, and normalized stress hormone levels, after resistance training training. Resistance training not only offers physical benefits, it also appears to reduce Alzheimer’s-related behavioral problems.

This study advocates the adoption of resistance training as an affordable therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

Key facts:

  1. Researchers found that resistance training can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms and serve as a cost-effective therapeutic option.
  2. This study shows that resistance training reduces the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, in a transgenic mouse model.
  3. Resistance training also helps reduce behavioral problems often associated with Alzheimer’s, such as hyperlocomotion, thus improving the subject’s overall well-being.

Source: FAPESP

Regular physical exercise, such as resistance training, can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, or at least delay the appearance of symptoms, and serve as a simple and affordable therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

This is the conclusion of an article published in Frontiers in Neuroscience by Brazilian researchers affiliated with the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) and the University of São Paulo (USP).

It shows an older man lifting weights.
Resistance training requires specific muscle contractions against external resistance and is considered an important strategy for increasing muscle mass, strength and bone density, and for improving overall body composition, functional capacity and balance. Credits: Neuroscience News

Although the elderly and people with dementia are unlikely to be able to take long daily runs or engage in other high-intensity aerobic exercise, these activities are the focus of most scientific studies on Alzheimer’s.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends resistance training as the best option for training balance, improving posture and preventing falls.

Resistance training requires specific muscle contractions against external resistance and is considered an important strategy for increasing muscle mass, strength and bone density, and for improving overall body composition, functional capacity and balance.

It also helps prevent or reduce sarcopenia (muscle atrophy), making everyday tasks easier to perform.

To observe the neuroprotective effects of this practice, researchers at the UNIFESP Department of Physiology and Psychobiology, and the Department of Biochemistry at the USP Institute of Chemistry (IQ-USP), conducted experiments involving transgenic mice with mutations responsible for the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

The protein accumulates in the central nervous system, damaging synaptic connections and damaging neurons, all of which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

During a study funded by FAPESP, rats were trained to climb a ladder 110 cm long at an 80° incline and 2 cm between steps. The weight attached to their tail corresponds to 75%, 90% and 100% of their body weight. The experiments mimicked certain types of resistance training performed by humans in gyms.

At the end of the four-week training period, blood samples were taken to measure plasma levels of corticosterone, a hormone in mice equivalent to cortisol in humans; levels that increase in response to stress increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Hormone levels were normal (the same as those found in the control group of animals without the mutation) in the exercise-trained mice, and analysis of their brain tissue showed reduced formation of beta-amyloid plaques.

“This confirms that physical activity can reverse the neuropathological changes that cause clinical symptoms of this disease,” said Henrique Correia Campos, first author of the article.

“We also observed the behavior of the animals to assess their anxiety in open field tests [which measures avoidance of the central area of a box, the most stress-inducing area] and found that resistance training reduced hyperlocomotion to levels similar to controls among mice with an Alzheimer’s-associated phenotype,” said Deidiane Elisa Ribeiro, one of the first authors of the article and a researcher in the IQ-USP Neuroscience Laboratory.

Agitation, restlessness, and wandering are often early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

“Resilience training is increasingly proving to be an effective strategy to avoid the appearance of sporadic Alzheimer’s symptoms [not directly caused by a single inherited genetic mutation]which is multifactorial and may be related to aging, or to delay its onset in familial Alzheimer’s.

“The main probable reason for this effectiveness is the anti-inflammatory action of resistance training,” said Beatriz Monteiro Longo, the article’s final author and a professor of neurophysiology at UNIFESP.

Literature review

Animal model studies are based on a literature review published in Frontiers in Neurosciencein which the same group at UNIFESP compiled clinical evidence that the benefits of resistance training include positive effects on cognitive dysfunction, memory deficits, and behavioral problems in Alzheimer’s patients, concluding that this could be an affordable alternative or adjunctive therapy.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) and the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP) in Brazil also took part in the study.

“Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the patient. Whole families are impacted, especially in low-income households,” said Caroline Vieira Azevedo, first author of the review article and postgraduate student at UNIFESP.

“These two articles offer information that can be used to stimulate the creation of public policies. Imagine the cost savings if the appearance of symptoms in older patients is delayed by ten years.”

About this exercise and Alzheimer’s disease research news

Author: joao silva
Source: FAPESP
Contact: Joao Silva – FAPESP
Picture: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
“Neuroprotective effect of resistance training exercise in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease” by Henrique Correia Campos et al. Frontiers in Neuroscience


Neuroprotective effects of endurance exercise in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

Introduction: Physical exercise has a beneficial effect by providing a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory response to AD. Most studies, however, have been conducted with aerobic exercise, and few have investigated the effects of other modalities that also show positive effects on AD, such as resistance training (RE).

In addition to its benefits in developing muscle strength, balance and muscle endurance which support the improvement of the quality of life of the elderly, RE reduces amyloid load and local inflammation, improves memory and cognitive enhancement, and protects the cortex and hippocampus from degeneration that occurs. in advertising. Similar to AD patients, the double transgenic APPswe/PS1dE9 (APP/PS1) mice exhibit Αβ plaques in the cortex and hippocampus, hyperlocomotion, memory deficits, and exacerbated inflammatory responses.

Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 4 weeks of intermittent training of RE on the prevention and recovery of AD-related neuropathological conditions in APP/PS1 mice.

Method: For this purpose, 6–7 months old male APP/PS1 transgenic mice and their littermates, negative for the mutation (CTRL), were distributed into three groups: CTRL, APP/PS1, APP/PS1+RE. RE training lasted four weeks and, at the end of the program, animals were tested in an open field test for locomotor activity and in an object recognition test for recognition memory evaluation. Brains were collected for immunohistochemical analysis of Aβ plaques and microglia, and blood was collected for plasma corticosterone by ELISA assay.

Results: APP/PS1 transgenic sedentary mice demonstrated increased hippocampal Aβ plaques and higher plasma corticosterone levels, as well as hyperlocomotion and reduced central crossing in open field trials, compared with APP/PS1 trained and controlled animals. The intermittent ER program was able to restore behavioral changes, corticosterone and Aβ to CTRL levels. In addition, the RE protocol increased the number of microglial cells in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice. Despite these changes, no memory impairment was observed in the APP/PS1 mice in the new object recognition test.

Discussion: Taken together, the current results suggest that RE plays a role in reducing AD symptoms, and highlight the beneficial effects of RE training as a complementary treatment for AD.

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