Low-grade inflammation disrupts structural plasticity in the human brain

C. Szabó, O. Kelemen, S. Kéri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Increased low-grade inflammation is thought to be associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by decreased neuronal plasticity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between structural changes in the human brain during cognitive training and the intensity of low-grade peripheral inflammation in healthy individuals (n= 56). A two-month training (30. min/day) with a platformer video game resulted in a significantly increased volume of the right hippocampal formation. The number of stressful life events experienced during the past year was associated with less pronounced enlargement of the hippocampus. However, the main predictor of hippocampal volume expansion was the relative peripheral expression of Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor playing a central role in the effect of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein levels were not related to hippocampal plasticity when NF-κB was taken into consideration. These results suggest that more intensive peripheral inflammation is associated with weaker neuronal plasticity during cognitive training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 5 2014



  • Cognitive training
  • Hippocampus
  • Inflammation
  • Neuronal plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this