Moderate intensity physical activity associates with CSF biomarkers in a cohort at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Law LL, Rol RN, Schultz SA, Dougherty RJ, Edwards DF, Koscik RL, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Cook DB, Okonkwo OC.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2018 Feb 6;10:188-195. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2018.01.001. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the presence of amyloid b (Ab) plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neurodegeneration, evidence of which may be detected in vivo via cere- brospinal fluid (CSF) sampling. Physical activity (PA) has emerged as a possible modifier of these AD-related pathological changes. Consequently, the aim of this study was to cross-sectionally examine the relationship between objectively measured PA and CSF levels of Ab42 and tau in asymp- tomatic late-middle-aged adults at risk for AD. Methods: Eighty-five cognitively healthy late-middle-aged adults (age 5 64.31 years, 61.2% fe- male) from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention participated in this study. They wore an accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3X1) for one week to record free-living PA, yielding mea- sures of sedentariness and various intensities of PA (i.e., light, moderate, and vigorous). They also underwent lumbar puncture to collect CSF, from which Ab42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau were immunoassayed. Regression analyses were used to examine the association between accelerometer measures and CSF biomarkers, adjusting for age, sex, and other relevant covariates. Results: Engagement in moderate PA was associated with higher Ab42 (P 5 .008), lower total tau/ Ab42 (P 5 .006), and lower phosphorylated tau/Ab42 (P 5 .030). In contrast, neither light nor vigorous PA was associated with any of the biomarkers. Increased sedentariness was associated with reduced Ab42 (P 5 .014). Discussions: In this cohort, moderate PA, but not light or vigorous, was associated with a favorable AD biomarker profile, while sedentariness was associated with greater Ab burden. These findings suggest that a physically active lifestyle may play a protective role against the development of AD.


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