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Effects of air pollution on BDNF levels, inflammatory markers, sympathetic nervous activity, cognitive performance and sports performance in cyclists chronically exposed to different levels of pollutants

Grant number: 22/04960-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): March 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Physical Education
Principal Investigator:Rômulo Cássio de Moraes Bertuzzi
Grantee:André Casanova Silveira
Host Institution: Escola de Educação Física e Esporte (EEFE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


In our recently published article (SILVEIRA et al., 2022) we observed that exposure to air pollution did not lead to performance impairments (i.e., time, average power [PO] sustained in a 50 km cycling time trial, and perceived exertion [PSE]), even no changes in physiological parameters (e.g., blood pressure and heart rate [HR]) in cyclists used to training in a polluted environment. In contrast, our data indicated that exposure to pollutants leads to an increase in circulating levels of the inflammatory marker Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) post- exercise. These findings could indicate that endurance trained individuals living in urban centers could have an adaptation effect to the harmful effects induced by air pollution during exercise. However, there is not sufficient studies to make this claim. Thus, it has been important to investigate whether different levels of exposure to air pollution could lead to changes in physiological responses induced by exercise when performed in a polluted or filtered environment. In this sense, the main objective of the present study will be to analyze whether different levels of previous exposure to fine particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 ¼m (MP2.5) induces a lower susceptibility to the effects of air pollution in an acute exercise session in a polluted environment or filtered. In this sense, if the magnitude of the expression of the BDNF marker, cognitive and sports performance, in addition to the subjective effects of respiratory symptoms in cyclists chronically exposed to different levels of air pollution, will be evaluated. In addition, it will be investigated whether these different levels of exposure to pollution can impair the neurovascular control of cyclists who live in large urban centers.

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