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Performance-Related Increases in Hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA) Induced by Spatial Navigation Training Are Restricted to BDNF Val Homozygotes

Lövdén, Martin LU ; Schaefer, Sabine; Noack, Hannes; Kanowski, Martin; Kaufmann, Joern; Tempelmann, Claus; Bodammer, Nils Christian; Kuehn, Simone; Heinze, Hans-Jochen and Lindenberger, Ulman, et al. (2011) In Cerebral Cortex 21(6). p.1435-1442
Abstract
Recent evidence indicates experience-dependent brain volume changes in humans, but the functional and histological nature of such changes is unknown. Here, we report that adult men performing a cognitively demanding spatial navigation task every other day over 4 months display increases in hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA) as measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Unlike measures of brain volume, changes in NAA are sensitive to metabolic and functional aspects of neural and glia tissue and unlikely to reflect changes in microvasculature. Training-induced changes in NAA were, however, absent in carriers of the Met substitution in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, which is known to reduce activity-dependent... (More)
Recent evidence indicates experience-dependent brain volume changes in humans, but the functional and histological nature of such changes is unknown. Here, we report that adult men performing a cognitively demanding spatial navigation task every other day over 4 months display increases in hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA) as measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Unlike measures of brain volume, changes in NAA are sensitive to metabolic and functional aspects of neural and glia tissue and unlikely to reflect changes in microvasculature. Training-induced changes in NAA were, however, absent in carriers of the Met substitution in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, which is known to reduce activity-dependent secretion of BDNF. Among BDNF Val homozygotes, increases in NAA were strongly related to the degree of practice-related improvement in navigation performance and normalized to pretraining levels 4 months after the last training session. We conclude that changes in demands on spatial navigation can alter hippocampal NAA concentrations, confirming epidemiological studies suggesting that mental experience may have direct effects on neural integrity and cognitive performance. BDNF genotype moderates these plastic changes, in line with the contention that gene-context interactions shape the ontogeny of complex phenotypes. (Less)
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cognitive training, hippocampus, N-acetylaspartate (NAA), spatial navigation
in
Cerebral Cortex
volume
21
issue
6
pages
1435 - 1442
publisher
Oxford University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000290853300018
  • scopus:79957449765
ISSN
1460-2199
DOI
10.1093/cercor/bhq230
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
032cb98b-3ad3-4b8e-8b00-8a189f604238 (old id 1986430)
date added to LUP
2011-06-29 11:58:43
date last changed
2017-06-25 03:21:39
@article{032cb98b-3ad3-4b8e-8b00-8a189f604238,
  abstract     = {Recent evidence indicates experience-dependent brain volume changes in humans, but the functional and histological nature of such changes is unknown. Here, we report that adult men performing a cognitively demanding spatial navigation task every other day over 4 months display increases in hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA) as measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Unlike measures of brain volume, changes in NAA are sensitive to metabolic and functional aspects of neural and glia tissue and unlikely to reflect changes in microvasculature. Training-induced changes in NAA were, however, absent in carriers of the Met substitution in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, which is known to reduce activity-dependent secretion of BDNF. Among BDNF Val homozygotes, increases in NAA were strongly related to the degree of practice-related improvement in navigation performance and normalized to pretraining levels 4 months after the last training session. We conclude that changes in demands on spatial navigation can alter hippocampal NAA concentrations, confirming epidemiological studies suggesting that mental experience may have direct effects on neural integrity and cognitive performance. BDNF genotype moderates these plastic changes, in line with the contention that gene-context interactions shape the ontogeny of complex phenotypes.},
  author       = {Lövdén, Martin and Schaefer, Sabine and Noack, Hannes and Kanowski, Martin and Kaufmann, Joern and Tempelmann, Claus and Bodammer, Nils Christian and Kuehn, Simone and Heinze, Hans-Jochen and Lindenberger, Ulman and Duezel, Emrah and Baeckman, Lars},
  issn         = {1460-2199},
  keyword      = {brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF),cognitive training,hippocampus,N-acetylaspartate (NAA),spatial navigation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {1435--1442},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {Cerebral Cortex},
  title        = {Performance-Related Increases in Hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA) Induced by Spatial Navigation Training Are Restricted to BDNF Val Homozygotes},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhq230},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2011},
}