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.
- Insulin-like growth factor 1
- Paired associative stimulation
- Primary motor cortex plasticity
- Sex differences