Plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor and dynamic cerebral autoregulation in acute response to glycemic control following breakfast in young men

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2021 Jan 1;320(1):R69-R79. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00059.2020. Epub 2020 Oct 28.


We examined the acute impact of both low- and high-glycemic index (GI) breakfasts on plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and dynamic cerebral autoregulation (dCA) compared with breakfast omission. Ten healthy men (age 24 ± 1 yr) performed three trials in a randomized crossover order; omission and Low-GI (GI = 40) and High-GI (GI = 71) breakfast conditions. Middle cerebral artery velocity (transcranial Doppler ultrasonography) and arterial pressure (finger photoplethysmography) were continuously measured for 5 min before and 120 min following breakfast consumption to determine dCA using transfer function analysis. After these measurements of dCA, venous blood samples for the assessment of plasma BDNF were obtained. Moreover, blood glucose was measured before breakfast and every 30 min thereafter. The area under the curve of 2 h postprandial blood glucose in the High-GI trial was higher than the Low-GI trial (P < 0.01). The GI of the breakfast did not affect BDNF. In addition, both very-low (VLF) and low-frequency (LF) transfer function phase or gains were not changed during the omission trial. In contrast, LF gain (High-GI P < 0.05) and normalized gain (Low-GI P < 0.05) were decreased by both GI trials, while a decrease in VLF phase was observed in only the High-GI trial (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that breakfast consumption augmented dCA in the LF range but High-GI breakfast attenuated cerebral blood flow regulation against slow change (i.e., the VLF range) in arterial pressure. Thus we propose that breakfast and glycemic control may be an important strategy to optimize cerebrovascular health.

Keywords: cerebral circulation; glucose; insulin; neurotrophin; transfer function analysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Breakfast*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / physiology*
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Insulin
  • BDNF protein, human