ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (7): 798-806.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00798

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    


祁亚鹏1, 王怡萱1, 朱桦2, 周成林1, 王莹莹1()   

  1. 1上海体育学院心理学院, 上海 200438
    2北京航空航天大学生物与医学工程学院, 北京 100191
  • 收稿日期:2020-07-16 出版日期:2021-07-25 发布日期:2021-05-24
  • 通讯作者: 王莹莹
  • 基金资助:

Effects associated with long-term training in sports requiring high levels of strategy on brain white matter structure in expert players: A DTI study

QI Yapeng1, WANG Yixuan1, ZHU Hua2, ZHOU Chenglin1, WANG Yingying1()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, 200438, China
    2School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing 100191, China
  • Received:2020-07-16 Online:2021-07-25 Published:2021-05-24
  • Contact: WANG Yingying


目前关于运动员经验优势的脑机制还存在争议, 尤其对于涉及较多认知过程参与的高策略性技能项目运动员, 其大脑白质结构可塑性变化还需进一步探究。研究横向对比了乒乓球运动员和非运动员大脑白质纤维束的弥散张量成像数据。结果发现, 相比于非运动员, 乒乓球运动员在连接背侧和腹侧通路脑区的双侧皮质脊髓束、左侧上纵束、左侧下纵束和双侧额枕下束的各向异性值(FA)更大, 进一步分析发现, 部分腹侧通路白质纤维束FA增加的原因是径向扩散系数(RD)下降。研究结果支持了动作双通路模型。提示经过长期高策略性技能训练, 乒乓球运动员在背侧和腹侧通路上的白质纤维束结构完整性增强。

关键词: 脑结构可塑性, 高策略性技能项目, 乒乓球运动员, 弥散张量成像


Previous brain imaging studies have shown that the specialized experience achieved by expert sports players after years of training contributes to plasticity in both brain function and structure. However, changes in brain plasticity related to participating in various types of sports, specifically sports that involve higher-level strategies and cognitive function, remain unclear. Table tennis is a sport requiring high levels of strategy. Thus, the present study investigated the white matter structure of the brain in expert table tennis players who had undergone long-term training. Given the accumulating evidence that action processing in the brain occurs along two distinct pathways—dorsal and ventral—we hypothesized that, in addition to changes in the white matter of the dorsal sensorimotor system, the white matter in the ventral pathway linking brain regions related to higher-level cognitive function would differ between expert table tennis players and nonplayers.
An investigational group of 31 expert table tennis players (20.06 ± 1.69 years of age) and a control group of 28 college students (20.68 ± 1.66 years of age) who had no professional training in table tennis were recruited for the study. The table tennis players were members of university teams, and each player had more than 7 years of table tennis training. Diffusion tensor imaging techniques were used to compare white matter microstructure properties of the brain between expert players and nonplayers. Statistical analyses were performed using independent t-tests. Further analysis was conducted for the expert player group to assess whether any correlation existed between fractional anisotropy (FA) values and training time.
Consistent with our hypothesis, the white matter microstructure properties of both the dorsal and ventral pathways in expert table tennis players significantly differed from those in nonplayers. Specifically, FA values in the bilateral corticospinal tracts, which mainly connect brain regions in the dorsal sensorimotor system, were higher in experts than in nonplayers. Compared with nonplayers, expert players also had higher FA values in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus and bilateral inferior occipitofrontal fasciculus of the ventral pathway, which are involved in higher-level cognitive processing, such as semantic processing or thinking. By contrast, no white matter region showed a higher FA value in nonplayers than in expert players, and no region was found with axial diffusivity difference between the groups. Additionally, radial diffusivity was lower in the left superior longitudinal fasciculus and bilateral inferior occipitofrontal fasciculus in experts than in nonplayers. Correlation analysis of the expert group showed significant positive correlations between training time and FA values in both the left superior longitudinal fasciculus in the ventral pathway and bilateral corticospinal tracts in the dorsal pathway.
Taken together, these findings suggest that enhanced structural integrity of the white matter in both the dorsal and ventral pathways is associated with long-term, expert table tennis training. The observed structural plasticity is conducive to promoting cognitive processing of concrete sensorimotor and abstract information, which would enable expert players to excel at sports requiring a high level of strategy.

Key words: brain structural plasticity, high-level strategy sports, table tennis player, diffusion tensor imaging


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