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Apolipoprotein E ε4 Allele Modulates the Immediate Impact of Acute Exercise on Prefrontal Function

Abstract

The difference between Apolipoprotein E ε4 carriers and non-carriers in response to single exercise sessions was tested. Stroop and Posner tasks were administered to young untrained women immediately after walking sessions or moderately heavy exercise. Exercise had a significantly more profound impact on the Stroop effect than on the Posner effect, suggesting selective involvement of prefrontal function. A significant genotype-by-exercise interaction indicated differences in response to exercise between ε4 carriers and non-carriers. Carriers showed facilitation triggered by exercise. The transient executive down-regulation was construed as due to exercise-dependent hypofrontality. The facilitation observed in carriers was interpreted as better management of prefrontal metabolic resources, and explained within the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis framework. The findings have implications for the interpretation of differences between ε4 carriers and non-carriers in the benefits triggered by long-term exercise that might depend, at least partially, on mechanisms of metabolic response to physical activity.

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Acknowledgments

This study was partially supported by a University of Hull Faculty of Science scholarship to MDM and by funding from MIUR and FP7 VPH-DARE to AV.

Conflict of interest

Matteo De Marco, Peter J. Clough, Charlotte E. Dyer, Rebecca V. Vince, Jennifer S. Waby, Adrian W. Midgley and Annalena Venneri declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5).

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Informed consent for being included in the study was obtained from all participants.

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Correspondence to Annalena Venneri.

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Edited by Chandra Reynolds.

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De Marco, M., Clough, P.J., Dyer, C.E. et al. Apolipoprotein E ε4 Allele Modulates the Immediate Impact of Acute Exercise on Prefrontal Function. Behav Genet 45, 106–116 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-014-9675-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-014-9675-5

Keywords

  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Physiological response
  • Stroop test
  • Posner test
  • Alzheimer’s disease