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BioMed research international

Exercise-induced neuroprotection in the spastic Han Wistar rat: the possible role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.


PMID 25710032

Abstract

Moderate aerobic exercise has been shown to enhance motor skills and protect the nervous system from neurodegenerative diseases, like ataxia. Our lab uses the spastic Han Wistar rat as a model of ataxia. Mutant rats develop forelimb tremor and hind limb rigidity and have a decreased lifespan. Our lab has shown that exercise reduced Purkinje cell degeneration and delayed motor dysfunction, significantly increasing lifespan. Our study investigated how moderate exercise may mediate neuroprotection by analyzing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor TrkB. To link BDNF to exercise-induced neuroprotection, mutant and normal rats were infused with the TrkB antagonist K252a or vehicle into the third ventricle. During infusion, rats were subjected to moderate exercise regimens on a treadmill. Exercised mutants receiving K252a exhibited a 21.4% loss in Purkinje cells compared to their controls. Cerebellar TrkB expression was evaluated using non-drug-treated mutants subjected to various treadmill running regimens. Running animals expressed three times more TrkB than sedentary animals. BDNF was quantified via Sandwich ELISA, and cerebellar expression was found to be 26.6% greater in mutant rats on 7-day treadmill exercise regimen compared to 30 days of treadmill exercise. These results suggest that BDNF is involved in mediating exercise-induced neuroprotection.

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