A Single Bout of High-intensity Interval Exercise Increases Corticospinal Excitability, Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor, and Uncarboxylated Osteolcalcin in Sedentary, Healthy Males
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Exercise induces neuroplasticity in descending motor pathways facilitating motor learning, and as such it could be utilized as an intervention in neurorehabilitation, for example when re-learning motor skills after stroke. To date, however, the neurophysiological and molecular mechanisms underlying exercise-induced neuroplasticity remain largely unknown impeding the potential utilization of exercise protocols as 'motor learning boosters' in clinical and non-clinical settings. Here, we assessed corticospinal excitability, intracortical facilitation (ICF) and short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and serum biochemical markers including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), total and precursor cathepsin B (tCTSB, proCTSB), uncarboxylated and carboxylated osteocalcin (unOCN, cOCN) and irisin using ELISA. Measurements were carried out in sedentary, healthy males before and after a single session of high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) or in individuals who rested and did not perform exercise (No Exercise). We found that HIIE increased corticospinal excitability, BDNF and unOCN, and decreased cOCN. We also determined that greater increases in BDNF were associated with increases in unOCN and irisin and decreases in cOCN only in participants who underwent HIIE, suggesting that unOCN and irisin may contribute to exercise-induced BDNF increases. Conversely, no changes other than a decrease in serum unOCN/tOCN were found in No Exercise participants. The present findings show that a single session of HIIE is sufficient to modulate corticospinal excitability and to increase BDNF and unOCN in sedentary, healthy males.
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