Acute effects of different types of exercises on peripheral neurotrophic factors and cognitive functions in veteran athletes

Birinci Y. Z., SAĞDİLEK E., Taymur İ., Budak E., Beyaz A., VATANSEVER Ş., ...More

Sport Sciences for Health, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11332-023-01152-x
  • Journal Name: Sport Sciences for Health
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, SportDiscus
  • Keywords: BDNF, Cognition, Exercise, Irisin, VEGF
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Despite the clear relationship between exercise and brain health, our knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that trigger such benefits is still limited. We investigated the acute effects of aerobic running (physical exercise, PE), chess (cognitive exercise, CE), and table tennis (PE + CE) exercises on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and irisin levels and cognitive functions in veteran male athletes. Methods: 10 table tennis athletes (TT), ten long-distance runners (LR), ten chess players (CP) between the ages of 50–65 performed 40 min of exercise sessions in their own branches while ten sedentary controls (SC) rested. Before and immediately after exercise, blood samples were obtained, and cognitive function tests [Stroop (ST), Trail Making A/B (TMT A/B), and Mental Rotation (MR), respectively] were conducted. Results: BDNF and irisin levels increased in the TT group post-exercise (p < 0.05). TT and LR groups showed better TMT A-B, ST, and MR performances post-exercise (p < 0.05), whereas the CP group showed better TMT B and MR performances (p < 0.05). The percent change in BDNF levels in the TT group was greater than CP and SC groups (p < 0.05) whereas there were no significant differences between groups in cognitive test performances. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that performing any routine exercise by veteran athletes has acute beneficial effects on cognitive functions. Table tennis is effective in elevating serum BDNF and irisin levels without additive effect in serum neurotrophic factors and cognitive test performances compared to aerobic running.