Exercise enhances and protects brain function

Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2002 Apr;30(2):75-9. doi: 10.1097/00003677-200204000-00006.


Physical activity, in the form of voluntary wheel running, induces gene expression changes in the brain. Animals that exercise show an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a molecule that increases neuronal survival, enhances learning, and protects against cognitive decline. Microarray analysis of gene expression provides further support that exercise enhances and supports brain function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology*
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Up-Regulation / physiology


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Estrogens