2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase


DNA Methylation as a Potential Molecular Mechanism Underlying Exercise-Induced Rescue of Alzheimer’s Disease Memory Deficit

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Luke Montrose


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects 6.5 million people aged 65 and older. This disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and currently has no cure. Animal and human studies suggest exercise helps to maintain cognition across the life course, however the underlying mechanism for this benefit is not well understood. Here, we explore DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism linking exercise and AD progression. DNA methylation is influenced by the environment and can regulate how genes are expressed. Using a transgenic rat model that displays AD-like pathology, we investigated global and loci-specific DNA methylation differences between exercised and control animals. Assays were designed to interrogate global methylation (LINE1) and methylation of genes involved in neuroplasticity (Pgc1a and Fndc5). Pyrosequencing will follow for quantification of DNA methylation at specific CpG sites. Any significant differences seen between the two groups will allow for additional experimentation.

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