Biological factors and age-dependence of primary motor cortex experimental plasticity

Renato Polimanti, Ilaria Simonelli, F. Zappasodi, Mariacarla Ventriglia, Maria Concetta Pellicciari, Luisa Benussi, Rosanna Squitti, Paolo Maria Rossini, Franca Tecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate whether the age-dependence of brain plasticity correlates with the levels of proteins involved in hormone and brain functions we executed a paired associative stimulation (PAS) protocol and blood tests. We measured the PAS-induced plasticity in the primary motor cortex. Blood levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), estradiol, the insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, the insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP)-3, progesterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, and the transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) were determined in 15 healthy men and 20 healthy women. We observed an age-related reduction of PAS-induced plasticity in females that it is not present in males. In females, PAS-induced plasticity displayed a correlation with testosterone (p = 0.006) that became a trend after the adjustment for the age effect (p = 0.078). In males, IGF-1 showed a nominally significant correlation with the PAS-induced plasticity (p = 0.043). In conclusion, we observed that hormone blood levels (testosterone in females and IGF-1 in males) may be involved in the age-dependence of brain plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Hormones
  • Insulin-like growth factor 1
  • Paired associative stimulation
  • Primary motor cortex plasticity
  • Sex differences
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology


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