The objective of this study was to examine the effects of physical exercise on parahippocampal function.
Studies were identified using electronic databases, including PubMed, PsychInfo, Sports Discus, and Google Scholar. In total, 28 articles met the inclusionary criteria. Among these, 20 were among humans and 8 in animal models. Among the 20 human studies that examined some aspects of the parahippocampal gyrus, 5 evaluated the entorhinal cortex and 1 evaluated the perirhinal cortex. Among the 20 human studies, 3 evaluated neural activity (or BOLD-signal changes), 14 evaluated brain volume (gray or white matter), 2 examined fractional anisotropy, 1 examined glucose metabolism, and 1 examined functional connectivity between the parahippocampal gyrus and a proximal brain tissue. Among the 8 animal studies, 4 evaluated the entorhinal cortex, with the other 4 examining the perirhinal cortex.
The results demonstrated that, among both animal and human models, exercise had widespread effects on parahippocampal function. These effects, included, for example, increased neural excitability in the parahippocampal gyrus, increased gray/white matter, reduced volume of lesions, enhanced regional glucose metabolism, increased cerebral blood flow, augmented markers of synaptic plasticity, and increased functional connectivity with other proximal brain structures.
Exercise appears to have extensive effects on parahippocampal function.