Exercise, especially endurance exercise, is known to have beneficial effects on brain health and cognition. This improvement in cognitive function largely affects learning and memory. Exercise has been shown in both animal models and clinical studies to be neuroprotective in Alzheimer’s disease.
The mechanisms by which exercise protects the brain are diverse and complex. Exercise increases a hormone called fibronectin-domain III containing 5 (FNDC5) that is cleaved and released as “irisin” into circulation. Irisin reduces amyloid beta pathology and cell loss in a cell culture model. Cell culture is the process by which cells from tissue of interest are grown under controlled conditions. This research will test the hypothesis that the novel exercise hormone irisin is neuroprotective in Alzheimer’s disease.