Translational Stroke Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 13–28

The Effects of Poststroke Aerobic Exercise on Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review of Animal and Clinical Studies

  • Michelle Ploughman
  • Mark W. Austin
  • Lindsay Glynn
  • Dale Corbett
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12975-014-0357-7

Cite this article as:
Ploughman, M., Austin, M.W., Glynn, L. et al. Transl. Stroke Res. (2015) 6: 13. doi:10.1007/s12975-014-0357-7

Abstract

Aerobic exercise may be a catalyst to promote neuroplasticity and recovery following stroke; however, the optimal methods to measure neuroplasticity and the effects of training parameters have not been fully elucidated. We conducted a systematic review and synthesis of clinical trials and studies in animal models to determine (1) the extent to which aerobic exercise influences poststroke markers of neuroplasticity, (2) the optimal parameters of exercise required to induce beneficial effects, and (3) consistent outcomes in animal models that could help inform the design of future trials. Synthesized findings show that forced exercise at moderate to high intensity increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), nerve growth factor (NGF), and synaptogenesis in multiple brain regions. Dendritic branching was most responsive to moderate rather than intense training. Disparity between clinical stroke and stroke models (timing of initiation of exercise, age, gender) and clinically viable methods to measure neuroplasticity are some of the areas that should be addressed in future research.

Keywords

Aerobic exerciseNeurotrophinsBDNFNeuroplasticityRehabilitationStrokeCerebrovascularReview

Abbreviations

AE

Aerobic exercise

BDNF

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

EEG

Electroencephalography

FE

Forced exercise

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

GAP43

Growth-associated protein-43

IGF-I

Insulin-like growth factor-I

NGF

Nerve growth factor

MAP2

Microtubule-associated protein 2

MEG

Magnetoencephalography

PET

Positron emission tomography

VE

Voluntary exercise

VEGF

Vascular endothelial growth factor

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Ploughman
    • 1
  • Mark W. Austin
    • 1
  • Lindsay Glynn
    • 2
  • Dale Corbett
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Recovery and Performance Laboratory, Rehabilitation Research Unit, Faculty of MedicineMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Health Sciences LibraryMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  3. 3.Department of Cellular and Molecular MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke RecoveryOttawaCanada