Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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vol. 40
Original paper

Increased brain 1H-MRS glutamate and lactate signals following maximal aerobic capacity exercise in young healthy males: an exploratory study

Maciej Świątkiewicz
Stefan Gaździński
2, 3
Michał Madeyski
Bartosz Kossowski
3, 4
Józef Langfort
Piotr Bogorodzki
3, 6, 7
Ewelina Zawadzka-Bartczak
Katarzyna Sklinda
Jerzy Walecki
Paweł Grieb

Department of Experimental Pharmacology, Mossakowski Medical Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Military Institute of Aviation Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Interinstitute Laboratory of New Diagnostic Applications of MRI (CNSLab), Nalecz Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, Polish Academy of Sciences, 02-109 Warsaw, Poland
Laboratory of Brain Imaging, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Institute of Sport Sciences, The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland
Faculty of Electronics, Warsaw University of Technology Warsaw, Poland
Small Animal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Laboratory, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
Biol Sport. 2023;40(3):665–673
Online publish date: 2022/09/15
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Physical exercise involves increased neuronal activity of many brain structures, but 1H-MRS investigations on the effects of human brain glutamate (Glu) concentrations on acute exercise have been sparse. Previous studies consistently found increases in brain lactate (Lac) concentrations following graded exercise up to 85% of the predicted maximal heart rate. However, the reported effects on brain concentrations of glutamine and glutamate were not consistent. This study aimed to determine the effect of acute intense graded maximal exercise on 1H-MRS signals related to concentrations of Glu, glutamate+glutamine (Glx), and Lac. Young adult males were randomly divided into two groups and subjected to 1H-MRS when resting (NE) or shortly after cessation of the intense graded exercise intended to pass the anaerobic threshold (E). 1H-MRS spectra were acquired from the large voxel encompassing the occipito-parietal cortex only once. Estimates of Glu, Glx, and Lac concentrations were calculated in institutional units by normalizing to a spectroscopic signal originating from creatine-containing compounds (Cr). Concentrations of Glu, Glx, and Lac were respectively 11%, 12.6%, and 48.5% higher in E than in NE (p < 0.001). The increased brain Lac signal in the exercising group indicated that in our experiment, vigorous exercise resulted in passing the anaerobic threshold and lactate apparently entered the brain. Concomitantly glutamate-related resonance signals from the vicinity of the occipito-parietal cortex were significantly increased; physiological mechanisms underlying these phenomena require further study. Future studies should evaluate whether the normalization rate of these concentrations is a marker of general physical fitness.

glutamate, lactate, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, exercise, brain, occipito-parietal grey matter

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