Exercise is known to improve cognitive functions and to induce neuroprotection. In this study we used a short-term, moderate intensity treadmill exercise protocol to investigate the effects of exercise on usual markers of hippocampal synaptic and structural plasticity, such as synapsin I (SYN), synaptophysin (SYP), neurofilaments (NF), microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), glutamate receptor subunits GluR1 and GluR2/3, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and real-time PCR were used. We also evaluated the number of cells positive for the proliferation marker 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU), the neurogenesis marker doublecortin (DCX) and the plasma corticosterone levels. Adult male Wistar rats were adapted to a treadmill and divided into 4 groups: sedentary (SED), 3-day exercise (EX3), 7-day exercise (EX7) and 15-day exercise (EX15). The protein changes detected were increased levels of NF68 and MAP2 at EX3, of SYN at EX7 and of GFAP at EX15, accompanied by a decreased level of GluR1 at EX3. Immunohistochemical findings revealed a similar pattern of changes. The real-time PCR analysis disclosed only an increase of MAP2 mRNA at EX7. We also observed an increased number of BrdU-positive cells and DCX-positive cells in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus at all time points and increased corticosterone levels at EX3 and EX7. These results reveal a positive effect of short-term, moderate treadmill exercise on hippocampal plasticity. This effect was in general independent of transcriptional processes and of BDNF upregulation, and occurred even in the presence of increased corticosterone levels. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Ferreira, A. F. B., Real, C. C., Rodrigues, A. C., Alves, A. S., & Britto, L. R. G. (2011). Short-term, moderate exercise is capable of inducing structural, bdnf-independent hippocampal plasticity. Brain Research, 1425, 111–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2011.10.004