Could the beneficial effects of physical activity on the brain be reproduced in sedentary people by a simple plasma transfusion? This is what happened in a mouse study. But we are still very far from the magic potion that would replace the benefits of sport.
Physical exercise is a universal medicine! In prevention or as an accompaniment to treatment, its benefits are increasingly recognized. And a new study published on the BioRxiv website could give rise to great hopes for those who would like to enjoy these benefits of sport … without devoting the necessary effort.
Work carried out by scientists at Stanford University in California shows that by taking plasma from mice who had practiced an exercise very popular in rodents, running inside a wheel for 28 days, to inject it into mice which had remained motionless other than on the floor of their cage during the same period, the latter benefited from the same positive effects on their brain.
Better performance for memory and learning
The brains of the “active” mice had more cells and less inflammation guaranteeing better performance in memory and learning exercises. These characteristics were found identically in the “passive” animals which received injections of their plasma.
These are proteins and more particularly one of them, clusterin, the rate of which increases with the practice of physical exercise, which would be at the origin of these positive effects on the brain. The researchers thus found that in patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment, the practice of a sporting activity for six weeks had resulted in an increase in their clusterin levels, an increase which was accompanied by an improvement in their endurance.
However, we cannot deduce from this work that this protein alone may be able to compensate for a lack of physical exercise, in other words that clusterin may tomorrow become the drug whose administration would replace the benefits of sport. At this stage of research, it is only one of the “transferable” factors that can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.