Beneficial effects of moderate voluntary physical exercise and its biological mechanisms on brain health

Neurosci Bull. 2008 Aug;24(4):265-70. doi: 10.1007/s12264-008-0402-1.


This article reviewed the beneficial effects of moderate voluntary physical exercise on brain health according to the studies on humans and animals, which includes improving psychological status and cognitive function, enhancing psychological well-being, decreasing the risks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia, and promoting the effects of antidepressant and anxiolytic. The possible underlying neurobiological mechanisms are involved up-active and down-active pathways. The up-active pathway is associated with enhancements of several neurotransmitters systems afferent to hippocampus, including norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-Hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), acetylcholine (ACh) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The down-active pathway is mainly concerned with up-regulation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurogenesis. It is suggested that NE activation via beta-adrenergic receptors may be essential for exercise-induced BDNF up-regulation. The possible intracellular signaling pathways of NE-mediated BDNF up-expression may be involved in GPCR-MAPK-PI-3K crosstalk and positive feedback.

本文综述了在人和动物方面有关自愿适量运动有益于脑作用的研究, 包括改善心理状态和认知功能、 增强心理幸福感、 降低老年痴呆症发生危险度和发挥抗抑郁及抗焦虑药的作用等。 运动对脑的作用机制包含上游和下游 两方面: 上游途径主要涉及投射到海马的几种神经递质系统的功能增强, 其中包括去甲肾上腺素、5-羟色胺、 乙 酰胆碱和γ-氨基丁酸; 下游途径主要涉及脑源性神经营养因子的表达提高和神经元发生的增强; 其中, 激活 β 受 体介导的去甲肾上腺素能神经的传递被认为是运动导致脑源性神经营养因子表达增强的前提, 上述过程在细胞内的可能信号转导机制主要涉及G-蛋白偶联受体-促分裂原活化蛋白激酶-磷脂酰肌醇(−3)激酶等细胞信号转导通路的交互及正反馈调控。

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Dementia / prevention & control
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents