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Open AccessArticle

Metabolite Profiling Revealed That a Gardening Activity Program Improves Cognitive Ability Correlated with BDNF Levels and Serotonin Metabolism in the Elderly

1
Department of Environmental Health Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
2
Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
3
Sport Science Center in Daejeon, Daejeon 34134, Korea
4
Department of Sport Science, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea
5
Research Institute for Bioactive-Metabolome Network, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 541; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020541
Received: 27 December 2019 / Revised: 8 January 2020 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evidence-Based Nature for Human Health)
Metabolomics is useful for evaluating the fundamental mechanisms of improvements in the health functions of the elderly. Additionally, gardening intervention as a regular physical activity for the elderly maintained and improved physical, psychology, cognitive, and social health. This study was conducted to determine whether the cognitive ability of the elderly is affected by participating in a gardening activity program as a physical activity with a metabolomic potential biomarker. The gardening program was designed as a low to moderate intensity physical activity for the elderly. Serum metabolites resulting from gardening were subjected to metabolite profiling using gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-linear trap quadruple-orbitrap-mass spectrometry followed by multivariate analyses. The partial least squares-discriminant analysis showed distinct clustering patterns among the control, non-gardening, and gardening groups. According to the pathway analysis, tryptophan metabolism including tryptophan, kynurenine, and serotonin showed significantly distinctive metabolites in the gardening group. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels (BDNF) in the gardening group were significantly increased after the gardening program. Correlation map analysis showed that the relative levels of tryptophan metabolites were positively correlated with BDNF. Our results show that tryptophan, kynurenine, and serotonin may be useful as metabolic biomarkers for improved cognitive ability by the gardening intervention. View Full-Text
Keywords: tryptophan metabolism; gardening; horticultural therapy; brain-derived neurotrophic factor tryptophan metabolism; gardening; horticultural therapy; brain-derived neurotrophic factor
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Park, S.-A.; Son, S.Y.; Lee, A.-Y.; Park, H.-G.; Lee, W.-L.; Lee, C.H. Metabolite Profiling Revealed That a Gardening Activity Program Improves Cognitive Ability Correlated with BDNF Levels and Serotonin Metabolism in the Elderly. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 541.

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