Twelve weeks of resistance training does not influence peripheral levels of neurotrophic growth factors or homocysteine in healthy adults: A randomized-controlled trial

Author Identifier

Belinda Brown Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7927-2540 Ralph Martins Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4828-9363

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

European Journal of Applied Physiology




Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care / School of Medical and Health Sciences




National Health and Medical Research Council.

BrightFocus Foundation Fellowship.

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : GNT1097105


Marston, K. J., Brown, B. M., Rainey-Smith, S. R., Bird, S., Wijaya, L., Teo, S. Y., ... Peiffer, J. J. (2019). Twelve weeks of resistance training does not influence peripheral levels of neurotrophic growth factors or homocysteine in healthy adults: a randomized-controlled trial. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 119(10), 2167-2176. Available here


Introduction: There is growing evidence for a preventative effect of resistance training on cognitive decline through physiological mechanisms; yet, the effect of resistance training on resting growth factors and homocysteine levels is incompletely understood. This study aimed to investigate the effect of intense resistance training, for 12 weeks, on changes in peripheral growth factors and homocysteine in late middle-aged adults. Methods: 45 healthy adults were enrolled into the single-site parallel groups’ randomized-controlled trial conducted at the Department of Exercise Science, Strength and Conditioning Laboratory, Murdoch University. Participants were allocated to the following conditions: (1) high-load resistance training (n = 14), or (2) moderate-load resistance training (n = 15) twice per week for 12 weeks; or (3) non-exercising control group (n = 16). Data were collected from September 2016 to December 2017. Fasted blood samples were collected at baseline and within 7 days of trial completion for the analysis of resting serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and plasma homocysteine levels. Results: No differences in baseline to post-intervention change in serum growth factors or plasma homocysteine levels were observed between groups. A medium effect was calculated for BDNF change within the high-load condition alone (+ 12.9%, g = 0.54). Conclusions: High-load or moderate-load resistance training twice per week for 12 weeks has no effect on peripheral growth factors or homocysteine in healthy late middle-aged adults. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12616000690459.



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Research Themes


Priority Areas

Multidisciplinary biological approaches to personalised disease diagnosis, prognosis and management