Research has shown that intensive exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. A research team led by the Catholic University of Rome and Agostino Gemelli University in Italy discovered a new mechanism responsible for the positive effects of exercise on brain plasticity. It is noteworthy that these results will open a new path for non-pharmacological approaches.
Corresponding author Paolo Calabreci, professor of neurology at the Catholic University of Korea, said, “We discovered a mechanism that has not been observed so far.

“In the future, it will be possible to identify new therapeutic targets and functional markers for adopted non-pharmacological therapies in combination with current pharmacological therapies,” he added.

Previous studies have shown that intensive physical activity is associated with increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important growth factor.

The research team reproduced these results with four weeks of treadmill training in an animal model of early Parkinson’s disease, and demonstrated for the first time how neurotrophic factors determine the beneficial effects of physical activity on the brain.

Lead authors, Dr. Gioia Marino and Federica Campanelli from the School of Medicine at The Catholic University of Korea, used a multidisciplinary approach that uses a variety of techniques to measure improvements in neuronal survival, brain plasticity, brain improvement, motor control, and visuospatial cognition, thereby improving the neurological status of movement. provided experimental support for a protective effect.

The main effect observed in response to daily sessions of treadmill training was a reduced prevalence of pathological alpha-synuclein. Pathological proliferation of alpha-synuclein leads to progressive dysfunction of neurons in specific brain regions essential for motor control in Parkinson’s disease.

The neuroprotective effects of exercise are related to the survival of neurons that release the neurotransmitter dopamine and the function of striatal neurons. As a result, animals subjected to intensive training showed that motor control and visuospatial learning were preserved.