Intensity Matters

High-intensity Interval Exercise Enhances Motor Cortex Plasticity More Than Moderate Exercise

Sophie C. Andrews, Dylan Curtin, Ziarih Hawi, Jaeger Wongtrakun, Julie C. Stout, James P. Coxon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A single bout of cardiovascular exercise can enhance plasticity in human cortex; however, the intensity required for optimal enhancement is debated. We investigated the effect of exercise intensity on motor cortex synaptic plasticity, using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Twenty healthy adults (Mage = 35.10 ± 13.25 years) completed three sessions. Measures of cortico-motor excitability (CME) and inhibition were obtained before and after a 20-min bout of either high-intensity interval exercise, moderate-intensity continuous exercise, or rest, and again after intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS). Results showed that high-intensity interval exercise enhanced iTBS plasticity more than rest, evidenced by increased CME and intracortical facilitation, and reduced intracortical inhibition. In comparison, the effect of moderate-intensity exercise was intermediate between high-intensity exercise and rest. Importantly, analysis of each participant’s plasticity response profile indicated that high-intensity exercise increased the likelihood of a facilitatory response to iTBS. We also established that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism attenuated plasticity responses following high-intensity exercise. These findings suggest that high-intensity interval exercise should be considered not only when planning exercise interventions designed to enhance neuroplasticity, but also to maximize the therapeutic potential of non-invasive brain stimulation. Additionally, genetic profiling may enhance efficacy of exercise interventions for brain health.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbhz075
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • BDNF
  • GABA
  • neuroplasticity
  • TMS
  • theta burst stimulation (TBS)
  • LTP-like plasticity

Cite this

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title = "Intensity Matters: High-intensity Interval Exercise Enhances Motor Cortex Plasticity More Than Moderate Exercise",
abstract = "A single bout of cardiovascular exercise can enhance plasticity in human cortex; however, the intensity required for optimal enhancement is debated. We investigated the effect of exercise intensity on motor cortex synaptic plasticity, using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Twenty healthy adults (Mage = 35.10 ± 13.25 years) completed three sessions. Measures of cortico-motor excitability (CME) and inhibition were obtained before and after a 20-min bout of either high-intensity interval exercise, moderate-intensity continuous exercise, or rest, and again after intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS). Results showed that high-intensity interval exercise enhanced iTBS plasticity more than rest, evidenced by increased CME and intracortical facilitation, and reduced intracortical inhibition. In comparison, the effect of moderate-intensity exercise was intermediate between high-intensity exercise and rest. Importantly, analysis of each participant’s plasticity response profile indicated that high-intensity exercise increased the likelihood of a facilitatory response to iTBS. We also established that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism attenuated plasticity responses following high-intensity exercise. These findings suggest that high-intensity interval exercise should be considered not only when planning exercise interventions designed to enhance neuroplasticity, but also to maximize the therapeutic potential of non-invasive brain stimulation. Additionally, genetic profiling may enhance efficacy of exercise interventions for brain health.",
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author = "Andrews, {Sophie C.} and Dylan Curtin and Ziarih Hawi and Jaeger Wongtrakun and Stout, {Julie C.} and Coxon, {James P.}",
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Intensity Matters : High-intensity Interval Exercise Enhances Motor Cortex Plasticity More Than Moderate Exercise. / Andrews, Sophie C.; Curtin, Dylan ; Hawi, Ziarih; Wongtrakun, Jaeger; Stout, Julie C.; Coxon, James P.

In: Cerebral Cortex, 01.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Coxon, James P.

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