An experimental study has found that physical exercise modulates iron in Alzheimer’s disease
The findings, which show how regular physical exercise modulates iron metabolism in both the brain and muscles, are also helping scientists better understand the benefits of exercise in Alzheimer’s disease.
They have been published in a special issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences entitled Redox Active Metals in Neurodegenerative Diseases: Therapeutic Implications.
Dysregulation of brain iron metabolism and iron accumulation is known to be associated with ageing and Alzheimer’s disease, although underlying mechanisms remain unclear.
It’s known that iron load and inflammation regulate the synthesis of hepcidin, which is the main iron regulatory protein.
In particular, the inflammation-modulating cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) – also known to modulate brain-muscle crosstalk – is involved in the activation of hepcidin synthesis in the brain.
Although regular physical exercise is known to have a beneficial effect on total body iron metabolism and anti-inflammatory action, the role of regular exercise on iron homeostasis in the brain and in the context of Alzheimer;s disease still isn’t known.
Researchers say this study, however, demonstrates that regular physical exercise modulates iron storage and trafficking in both the brain and skeletal muscle.
The study is also the first to report a reduction of cortical hepcidin in response to regular physical exercise.
These findings can help us to better understand why regular exercise is beneficial in Alzheimer’s disease and could provide new insight for disease prevention or effective treatment approaches.
The study was conducted in the Neurobiology of Disease laboratory at the University of Eastern Finland and supported by the Academy of Finland, Sigrid Juselius foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, and University of Eastern Finland.