Many of us are either exercising too much or too little during this pandemic. Here is reason to get up out of your chair and get moving…
A molecule called Gpld1 (glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)–specific phospholipase D1), seems to improve neurogenesis and cognition in mice. In a series of experiments in older mice, regular exercise, compared with sedentary behavior, improved neurogenesis, learning ability, and memory.
Blood extracted from older mice, midlife, or younger exercising mice that was injected intravenously into older sedentary mice produced improved neurogenesis, learning ability, and memory. Blood infusions from sedentary mice did not have this effect.
Mass spectrometry (a sophisticated tool used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of 1 or more molecules) identified about 30 molecules that increased after exercise; one of the most prominent was Gpld1, a molecule produced by the liver. When scientists enhanced liver production of Gpld1, it led to improved neurogenesis and cognition.
Levels of Gpld1 are also higher in physically active humans than in sedentary humans. This is the equivalent to about 7100 steps per day. A molecule common to mice and humans has been linked to the benefits of exercise and the aging brain. Whether we see this being used in humans therapeutically is yet to be seen. But it suggest that specific molecules brought on by exercise can improve cognition.
Reference: Horowitz AM et al. Blood factors transfer beneficial effects of exercise on neurogenesis and cognition to the aged brain. Science 2020 Jul 10; 369:167.