The effect of environmental temperature on exercise-dependent release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Christopher W. Collins, Robert J. Shute, Matthew W.S. Heesch, Dustin R. Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a biomarker of cognitive function that is released into the blood stream following exercise, and cognitive function is impaired by environmental temperatures that are hot and cold. Purpose: To evaluate the exercise-dependent release of BDNF in different environmental temperatures. Methods: Recreationally trained males each completed three trials consisting of cycling for 1 h at 60% Wmax at three different temperatures: 33°C (hot), 7°C (cold), and 20°C (moderate room temperature). Blood was taken from the antecubital vein pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, and 3 h post-exercise. Respiratory gases were collected periodically throughout exercise and recovery. Results: BDNF was elevated immediately following an exercise bout (1711 ± 766 pg·ml−1) regardless of temperature from pre-exercise (1257 ± 653 pg·ml−1, p = 0.001) and returned to basal levels following 3 h of recovery (1289 ± 650 pg·ml−1, p = 0.786). There was no effect (p > 0.05) of temperature on BDNF following the exercise bout. Plasma glucose was elevated in hot (6.2 ± 0.9 mmol) over cold (5.3 ± 0.6 mmol, p = 0.035) and moderate room temperature (5.2 ± 0.5, p = 0.008). VO2 was elevated during exercise in hot (3.01 ± 0.45 L·min−1) over cold (2.67 ± 0.35 L·min−1, p = 0.005) and moderate room temperature (2.80 ± 0.38 L·min−1, p = 0.001). There was no relationship between BDNF and plasma glucose (p > 0.05) or VO2 across any time point or temperature (p > 0.05). Conclusion: With aerobic exercise, BDNF is elevated; however, the release of BDNF is not impacted by different environmental temperatures during exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • BDNF
  • cycling
  • exercise
  • glucose
  • heat


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