The beneficial effects of physical exercise in the brain and related pathophysiological mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases

Yan Liu, Tim Yan, John Man Tak Chu, Ying Chen, Sophie Dunnett, Yuen Shan Ho, Gordon Tin Chun Wong, Raymond Chuen Chung Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Growing evidence has shown the beneficial influence of exercise on humans. Apart from classic cardioprotection, numerous studies have demonstrated that different exercise regimes provide a substantial improvement in various brain functions. Although the underlying mechanism is yet to be determined, emerging evidence for neuroprotection has been established in both humans and experimental animals, with most of the valuable findings in the field of mental health, neurodegenerative diseases, and acquired brain injuries. This review will discuss the recent findings of how exercise could ameliorate brain function in neuropathological states, demonstrated by either clinical or laboratory animal studies. Simultaneously, state-of-the-art molecular mechanisms underlying the exercise-induced neuroprotective effects and comparison between different types of exercise will be discussed in detail. A majority of reports show that physical exercise is associated with enhanced cognition throughout different populations and remains as a fascinating area in scientific research because of its universal protective effects in different brain domain functions. This article is to review what we know about how physical exercise modulates the pathophysiological mechanisms of neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-957
Number of pages15
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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