Exercise improves BDNF expression in hypertensive patients

Exercise has been linked to improvements in the blood pressure levels of people with hypertension. A study, published in the Journal of Hypertension, investigated the effects of exercise on the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) of hypertensive individuals.

  • Spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were made to undergo physical exercise.
  • The researchers obtained the hippocampus of the exercised rats, as well as sedentary rats for comparison. These were used to determine the levels of proBDNF, mature BDNF (mBDNF), tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), P-TrkBtyr816 (TrkB phosphorylated at tyrosine 816), synaptophysin, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and eNOS phosphorylated at serine 1177 protein.
  • They also studied mBDNF and proBDNF protein levels in hippocampal slices prepared from SHR that were incubated in a nitric oxide (NO) donor for 24 hours.
  • The researchers found that short-term exercise caused no change in blood pressure in both hypertensive and normal rats. SHR showed lower levels of mBDNF, P-TrkBtyr816, synaptophysin, eNOS, and eNOS phosphorylated at serine 1177, but without any changes in proBDNF and TrkB levels.
  • The short-term exercise did improve the endothelium-derived NO system and the BDNF pathway in both hypertensive and healthy rats. The usage of the NO donor increased mBDNF but decreased the levels of proBDNF.

The researchers confirmed that hypertension caused impairments in endothelial and neuronal BDNF expressions, but they concluded that exercise was able to improve hippocampal mBDNF levels and signaling through blood pressure–independent mechanisms.

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Journal Reference:

Monnier A, Garnier P, Quirie A, Pernet N, Demougeot C, Marie C, Prigent-Tessier A. EFFECT OF SHORT-TERM EXERCISE TRAINING ON BRAIN-DERIVED NEUROTROPHIC FACTOR SIGNALING IN SPONTANEOUSLY HYPERTENSIVE RATS. Journal of Hypertension. February 2017;35(2):279–290. DOI: 10.1097/hjh.0000000000001164

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