An endothelial link between the benefits of physical exercise in dementia.
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2017 Jan 1:271678X17714655. Epub 2017 Jan 1. PMID: 28617071
Lianne J Trigiani
The current absence of a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) highlights the necessity for investigating the benefits of non-pharmacological approaches such as physical exercise (PE). Although evidence exists to support an association between regular PE and higher scores on cognitive function tests, and a slower rate of cognitive decline, there is no clear consensus on the underlying molecular mechanisms of the advantages of PE. This review seeks to summarize the positive effects of PE in human and animal studies while highlighting the vascular link between these benefits. Lifestyle factors such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, and sleep apnea will be addressed in relation to the risk they pose in developing AD and VCID, as will molecular factors known to have an impact on either the initiation or the progression of AD and/or VCID. This will include amyloid-beta clearance, oxidative stress, inflammatory responses, neurogenesis, angiogenesis, glucose metabolism, and white matter integrity. Particularly, this review will address how engaging in PE can counter factors that contribute to disease pathogenesis, and how these alterations are linked to endothelial cell function.