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High-intensity physical activity modulates diet effects on cerebrospinal amyloid-β levels in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment.

ABSTRACT

We previously showed that amyloid-β 1-42 (Aβ(42)) levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were markedly altered in response to a 4-week dietary intervention in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Here, we re-examined the data to assess whether diet-induced effects on CSF Aβ(42) were modulated by high intensity physical activity (hi-PA). Normal older adults (n = 18, mean age = 68.6 ± 7.4 y) and adults with amnestic MCI (n = 23, mean age = 68.0 ± 6.5 y) received a low saturated fat/low glycemic index (LOW) diet or a high saturated fat/high glycemic index (HIGH) diet, and CSF levels of Aβ(42), tau, and IL-8 were measured at baseline and week 4. Pre-study activity levels were assessed using a 7-d questionnaire, and weekly duration of hi-PA was quantified. At baseline, increased hi-PA in normals predicted lower CSF levels of tau (r = -0.54, p = 0.020) and IL-8 (r = -0.70, p = 0.025). Diet-induced effects on CSF Aβ(42) during the intervention study were modulated by hi-PA, and the nature of this effect differed for normals and MCI (ANOVA, p = 0.039). That is, for normal adults, increased hi-PA attenuated the effects of the HIGH diet on CSF Aβ(42) whereas in MCI, increased hi-PA potentiated the effects of the LOW diet. Our results suggest that normal adults who engage in hi-PA are less vulnerable to the pathological effects of an unhealthy diet, while in MCI, the benefit of a healthy diet on Aβ modulation is greatest when paired with hi-PA. Exercise may thus interact with diet to alter pathological processes that ultimately modify risk of Alzheimer's disease.