Associations between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Brain derived Neurotrophic Factor in Serum and Platelets poor Plasma

Anne Kær Gejl, Lars Bo Andersen, Jakob Tarp, Natascha Holbæk Pedersen, Niels Wedderkopp, Lone Pejs, Anna Bugge

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalpeer-review


Emerging evidence suggest that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) could mediate some of the beneficial effects of physical activity observed in neurodegenerative and metabolic disease. Observational studies report that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with circulating BDNF levels, but the direction of the association is inconsistent among studies. Accordingly, it appears that CRF is mostly positively associated with BDNF in plasma and negatively associated with BDNF in serum.

PURPOSE: To investigate the associations between CRF and BDNF measured in serum and platelet-poor plasma, respectively.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted using data from a subgroup of 81 participants (mean age: 14.3 (1.4), 51%males) included in the 2015 follow-up of the population-based CHAMPS Study-DK. Blood samples were drawn in resting horizontal position from the antecubital vein after an overnight fast (≥8 hours). BDNF was analyzed in serum and platelets-poor plasma. CRF was assessed using a field-based running test (the Andersen test). Linear regressions adjusted for potential known confounders (age, sex, Tanner stage and BMI) were conducted in the total sample and stratified by sex.

RESULTS: No significant associations were found between CRF and BDNF measured in serum (std. β= -.02, CI: -.21; .18) or platelet-poor plasma (std. β= -.09, CI: -.28; .09). Likewise, when stratified by sex, no associations were observed between CRF and BDNF in males (serum, std. β= -.17, CI: -.42; .08 or plasma std. β= -.10, CI: -.35; .15) or females (serum, std. β= .18, CI: -.21; .57 or plasma, std. β= -.10, CI: -.40; .19).

CONCLUSIONS: Opposite to some studies in the field, results from this study suggest no association between CRF and BDNF measured in either serum or platelet-poor plasma or in males or females. However, the measured level of BDNF may be highly modified by several unmeasured factors such as physical activity prior to blood drawing or pre-analytical handling of the blood samples (e.g. storage time and centrifugation strategy), making it problematic to use BDNF concentrations obtained from a single blood sample as a measure of general circulating levels of BDNF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)988
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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