ABCA7 genotype moderates the effect of aerobic exercise intervention on generalization of prior learning in healthy older african americans

Neha Sinha, Chelsie N. Berg, Ashlee Shaw, Mark A. Gluck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


African Americans are at elevated risk for age-related cognitive decline, with double the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to Caucasians Americans. Various behavioral, biological, and lifestyle factors may underlie this health disparity, but little is known about the relative importance and interactions among these different risk factors in African Americans. While the neuroprotective effects of aerobic exercise on biomarkers are well established, few studies have examined the differential benefits of exercise based on genetic risk for AD. Furthermore, evidence is limited regarding the potential moderating effects of ABCA7, a gene known to confer significantly greater AD risk in African Americans. In a case-control matched sample of 56 healthy older African Americans, we investigated the effect of an aerobic exercise intervention on a hippocampus-related assessment of generalization following rule learning, in individuals who were carriers of the ABCA7 rs3764650 non-risk (TT) or high-risk (GG) genotype. Following the exercise-intervention, the non-risk group made significantly fewer generalization errors, while there was no improvement in generalization for the high-risk group. For the controls, no changes in generalization scores were observed regardless of genotype status. Our results indicate that the ongoing adverse effects of ABCA7 high-risk genotype may diminish the benefits associated with aerobic exercise. As such, the potential disease-modifying effects of aerobic exercise on AD-related neuropathology may be limited to carriers of the ABCA7 rs3764650 non-risk genotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • ABCA7
  • aerobic exercise
  • African American
  • Alzheimer's disease

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