Gym Junkie Mice May Stimulate New Treatments for Dementia

Feb, 2022 - by CMI

A new study revealed that exercise can stimulate the release of anti-inflammatory molecules that can improve brain health.


A new Stanford University study that focuses on a single anti-inflammatory protein found that the ant-inflammatory protein, which helps in improving common health conditions, increases in the blood with consistent physical activity, resulting in a new type of drug that prevents neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Tony Wyss Coray, a professor of neurological sciences along with a team of scientists at Stanford University, almost a decade ago, discovered that injecting blood from young mice into old mice improve the cognitive abilities of aged animals. Based on the study, Wyss-Coray and his team presumed that the increased clusterin plasma level in human subjects with Alzheimer’s can act as a compensatory mechanism – a process used to offset cognitive weakness. The mechanism then raises the level of clusterin in the body to suppress other inflammatory mechanisms associated with neurodegeneration.


The researchers first examined three groups of mice, where one group was allowed to ride on running wheels for a month, the other group’s exercise bike was locked for the same duration. A month later, researchers found that exercising mice had more hippocampal neurons than sitting mice. The third group of mice was hospitalized for one month and provided plasma transfusions from both exercised and sedentary mice. It was then observed that the group of mice who received the blood of runner mice performed better in cognitive tests than animals that received the blood of mice with no exercise. This new study found that most of the protein differences between the two types of mouse blood are associated with the inflammatory process and in particular, clusterin appeared to play an important anti-inflammatory role in reducing brain inflammation.


Wyss-Coray does not suggest that clusterin itself may be a future treatment for cognitive decline. Instead, he speculates that further research on the exercise-inducing protein in the brain could influence the development of new molecules that specifically seize the control of this mechanism. Through this, researchers will have the potential to develop new therapies to prevent cognitive decline and reduce brain inflammation.