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      Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: A Key Molecule for Memory in the Healthy and the Pathological Brain

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          Abstract

          Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a key molecule involved in plastic changes related to learning and memory. The expression of BDNF is highly regulated, and can lead to great variability in BDNF levels in healthy subjects. Changes in BDNF expression are associated with both normal and pathological aging and also psychiatric disease, in particular in structures important for memory processes such as the hippocampus and parahippocampal areas. Some interventions like exercise or antidepressant administration enhance the expression of BDNF in normal and pathological conditions. In this review, we will describe studies from rodents and humans to bring together research on how BDNF expression is regulated, how this expression changes in the pathological brain and also exciting work on how interventions known to enhance this neurotrophin could have clinical relevance. We propose that, although BDNF may not be a valid biomarker for neurodegenerative/neuropsychiatric diseases because of its disregulation common to many pathological conditions, it could be thought of as a marker that specifically relates to the occurrence and/or progression of the mnemonic symptoms that are common to many pathological conditions.

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          Most cited references451

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          A neurotrophic model for stress-related mood disorders.

          There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that stress decreases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in limbic structures that control mood and that antidepressant treatment reverses or blocks the effects of stress. Decreased levels of BDNF, as well as other neurotrophic factors, could contribute to the atrophy of certain limbic structures, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex that has been observed in depressed subjects. Conversely, the neurotrophic actions of antidepressants could reverse neuronal atrophy and cell loss and thereby contribute to the therapeutic actions of these treatments. This review provides a critical examination of the neurotrophic hypothesis of depression that has evolved from this work, including analysis of preclinical cellular (adult neurogenesis) and behavioral models of depression and antidepressant actions, as well as clinical neuroimaging and postmortem studies. Although there are some limitations, the results of these studies are consistent with the hypothesis that decreased expression of BDNF and possibly other growth factors contributes to depression and that upregulation of BDNF plays a role in the actions of antidepressant treatment.
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            A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial.

            Modifiable vascular and lifestyle-related risk factors have been associated with dementia risk in observational studies. In the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), a proof-of-concept randomised controlled trial, we aimed to assess a multidomain approach to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people from the general population. In a double-blind randomised controlled trial we enrolled individuals aged 60-77 years recruited from previous national surveys. Inclusion criteria were CAIDE (Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia) Dementia Risk Score of at least 6 points and cognition at mean level or slightly lower than expected for age. We randomly assigned participants in a 1:1 ratio to a 2 year multidomain intervention (diet, exercise, cognitive training, vascular risk monitoring), or a control group (general health advice). Computer-generated allocation was done in blocks of four (two individuals randomly allocated to each group) at each site. Group allocation was not actively disclosed to participants and outcome assessors were masked to group allocation. The primary outcome was change in cognition as measured through comprehensive neuropsychological test battery (NTB) Z score. Analysis was by modified intention to treat (all participants with at least one post-baseline observation). This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01041989. Between Sept 7, 2009, and Nov 24, 2011, we screened 2654 individuals and randomly assigned 1260 to the intervention group (n=631) or control group (n=629). 591 (94%) participants in the intervention group and 599 (95%) in the control group had at least one post-baseline assessment and were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis. Estimated mean change in NTB total Z score at 2 years was 0·20 (SE 0·02, SD 0·51) in the intervention group and 0·16 (0·01, 0·51) in the control group. Between-group difference in the change of NTB total score per year was 0·022 (95% CI 0·002-0·042, p=0·030). 153 (12%) individuals dropped out overall. Adverse events occurred in 46 (7%) participants in the intervention group compared with six (1%) participants in the control group; the most common adverse event was musculoskeletal pain (32 [5%] individuals for intervention vs no individuals for control). Findings from this large, long-term, randomised controlled trial suggest that a multidomain intervention could improve or maintain cognitive functioning in at-risk elderly people from the general population. Academy of Finland, La Carita Foundation, Alzheimer Association, Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, Juho Vainio Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Ministry of Education and Culture, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Axa Research Fund, EVO funding for University Hospitals of Kuopio, Oulu, and Turku and for Seinäjoki Central Hospital and Oulu City Hospital, Swedish Research Council, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, and af Jochnick Foundation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.

              The hippocampus shrinks in late adulthood, leading to impaired memory and increased risk for dementia. Hippocampal and medial temporal lobe volumes are larger in higher-fit adults, and physical activity training increases hippocampal perfusion, but the extent to which aerobic exercise training can modify hippocampal volume in late adulthood remains unknown. Here we show, in a randomized controlled trial with 120 older adults, that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory. Exercise training increased hippocampal volume by 2%, effectively reversing age-related loss in volume by 1 to 2 y. We also demonstrate that increased hippocampal volume is associated with greater serum levels of BDNF, a mediator of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. Hippocampal volume declined in the control group, but higher preintervention fitness partially attenuated the decline, suggesting that fitness protects against volume loss. Caudate nucleus and thalamus volumes were unaffected by the intervention. These theoretically important findings indicate that aerobic exercise training is effective at reversing hippocampal volume loss in late adulthood, which is accompanied by improved memory function.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front. Cell. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-5102
                07 August 2019
                2019
                : 13
                : 363
                Affiliations
                Laboratory of Memory Research and Molecular Cognition, Institute for Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience, Instituto de Neurología Cognitiva, CONICET, Universidad Favaloro , Buenos Aires, Argentina
                Author notes

                Edited by: Emilio Carbone, University of Turin, Italy

                Reviewed by: Fabrizia Cesca, University of Trieste, Italy; Marco Canossa, University of Trento, Italy

                *Correspondence: Pedro Bekinschtein, pebekins@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to Cellular Neurophysiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience

                Article
                10.3389/fncel.2019.00363
                6692714
                31440144
                84e927cc-6589-4fce-8fbe-989dd057d209
                Copyright © 2019 Miranda, Morici, Zanoni and Bekinschtein.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 16 May 2019
                : 25 July 2019
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 425, Pages: 25, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica 10.13039/501100003074
                Award ID: PICT 2015-0110
                Funded by: International Brain Research Organization 10.13039/501100001675
                Funded by: International Society for Neurochemistry 10.13039/501100008992
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Review

                Neurosciences
                bdnf,hippocampus,perirhinal cortex,alzheimer disease,memory,depression,stress
                Neurosciences
                bdnf, hippocampus, perirhinal cortex, alzheimer disease, memory, depression, stress

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