Acute effects of high intensity, resistance, or combined protocol on the increase of level of neurotrophic factors in physically inactive overweight adults: The BrainFit Study

María A. Domínguez-Sanchéz, Rosa H. Bustos-Cruz, Gina P. Velasco-Orjuela, Andrea P. Quintero, Alejandra Tordecilla-Sanders, Jorge E. Correa-Bautista, Héctor R. Triana-Reina, Antonio García-Hermoso, Katherine González-Ruíz, Carlos A. Peña-Guzmán, Enrique Hernández, Jhonatan C. Peña-Ibagon, Luis A. Téllez-T, Mikel Izquierdo, Robinson Ramírez-Vélez

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40 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare the neurotrophic factor response following one session of high-intensity exercise, resistance training or both in a cohort of physically inactive overweight adults aged 18-30 years old. A randomized, parallel-group clinical trial of 51 men (23.6 ± 3.5 years; 83.5 ± 7.8 kg; 28.0 ± 1.9 kg/m2) who are physically inactive (i.e., < 150 min of moderate-intensity exercise per week or IPAQ score of < 600 MET min/week for > 6 months) and are either abdominally obese (waist circumference ≥90 cm) or have a body mass index, BMI ≥25 and ≤ 30 kg/m2 were randomized to the following four exercise protocols: high-intensity exercise (4 × 4 min intervals at 85-95% maximum heart rate [HRmax] interspersed with 4 min of recovery at 75-85% HRmax) (n = 14), resistance training (12-15 repetitions per set, at 50-70% of one repetition maximum with 60 s of recovery) (n = 12), combined high-intensity and resistance exercise (n = 13), or non-exercising control (n = 12). The plasma levels of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), neurotrophin-4 (also known as neurotrophin 4/5; NT-4 or NT-4/5), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were determined before (pre-exercise) and 1-min post-exercise for each protocol session. Resistance training induced significant increases in NT-3 (+39.6 ng/mL [95% CI, 2.5-76.6; p = 0.004], and NT-4/5 (+1.3 ng/mL [95% CI, 0.3-2.3; p = 0.014]), respectively. Additionally, combined training results in favorable effects on BDNF (+22.0, 95% CI, 2.6-41.5; p = 0.029) and NT-3 (+32.9 ng/mL [95% CI, 12.3-53.4; p = 0.004]), respectively. The regression analysis revealed a significant positive relationship between changes in BDNF levels and changes in NT-4/5 levels from baseline to immediate post-exercise in the combined training group (R2 = 0.345, p = 0.034) but not the other intervention groups. The findings indicate that acute resistance training and combined exercise increase neurotrophic factors in physically inactive overweight adults. Further studies are required to determine the biological importance of changes in neurotrophic responses in overweight men and chronic effects of these exercise protocols.

Translated title of the contributionEfectos agudos de alta intensidad, resistencia o protocolo combinado sobre el aumento del nivel de factores neurotróficos en adultos con sobrepeso físicamente inactivos: El estudio BrainFit
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number741
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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