Running is rewarding and antidepressive.
ABSTRACT Natural behaviors such as eating, drinking, reproduction and exercise activate brain reward pathways and consequently the individual engages in these behaviors to receive the reward. However, drugs of abuse are even more potent in activating the reward pathways. Rewarding behaviors and addictive drugs also affect other parts of the brain not directly involved in the mediation of reward. For instance, running increases neurogenesis in hippocampus and is beneficial as an antidepressant in a genetic animal model of depression and in depressed humans. Here we discuss and compare neurochemical and functional changes in the brain after addictive drugs and exercise with a focus on brain reward pathways and hippocampus.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Stefan Brené, May 23, 2015
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ABSTRACT: Accumulating in vivo and ex vivo evidences show that humans suffering from depression have decreased hippocampal volume and altered spine density. Moreover, physical activity has an antidepressant effect in humans and in animal models, but to what extent physical activity can affect hippocampal volume and spine numbers in a model for depression is not known. In this study we analyzed whether physical activity affects hippocampal volume and spine density by analyzing a rodent genetic model of depression, Flinders Sensitive Line Rats (FSL), with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ex vivo Golgi staining. We found that physical activity in the form of voluntary wheel running during 5 weeks increased hippocampal volume. Moreover, runners also had larger numbers of thin spines in the dentate gyrus. Our findings support that voluntary wheel running, which is antidepressive in FSL rats, is associated with increased hippocampal volume and spine numbers.The Open Neuroimaging Journal 01/2014; 9(1):1-6. DOI:10.2174/1874440001509010001
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ABSTRACT: We have previously described a theoretical model in humans, called "Similarities in the Inequalities", in which extremely unequal social backgrounds coexist in a complex scenario promoting similar health outcomes in adulthood. Based on the potential applicability of and to further explore the "similarities in the inequalities" phenomenon, this study used a rat model to investigate the effect of different nutritional backgrounds during gestation on the willingness of offspring to engage in physical activity in adulthood. Sprague-Dawley rats were time mated and randomly allocated to one of three dietary groups: Control (Adlib), receiving standard laboratory chow ad libitum; 50% food restricted (FR), receiving 50% of the ad libitum-fed dam's habitual intake; or high-fat diet (HF), receiving a diet containing 23% fat. The diets were provided from day 10 of pregnancy until weaning. Within 24 hours of birth, pups were cross-fostered to other dams, forming the following groups: Adlib_Adlib, FR_Adlib, and HF_Adlib. Maternal chow consumption and weight gain, and offspring birth weight, growth, physical activity (one week of free exercise in running wheels), abdominal adiposity and biochemical data were evaluated. Western blot was performed to assess D2 receptors in the dorsal striatum. The "similarities in the inequalities" effect was observed on birth weight (both FR and HF groups were smaller than the Adlib group at birth) and physical activity (both FR_Adlib and HF_Adlib groups were different from the Adlib_Adlib group, with less active males and more active females). Our findings contribute to the view that health inequalities in fetal life may program the health outcomes manifested in offspring adult life (such as altered physical activity and metabolic parameters), probably through different biological mechanisms.PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0118586. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118586 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Regular physical exercise/activity has been shown repeatedly to promote positive benefits in cognitive, emotional and motor domains concomitant with reductions in distress and negative affect. It exerts a preventative role in anxiety and depressive states and facilitates psychological well-being in both adolescents and adults. Not least, several meta-analyses attest to improvements brought about by exercise. In the present treatise, the beneficial effects of exercise upon cognitive, executive function and working memory, emotional, self-esteem and depressed mood, motivational, anhedonia and psychomotor retardation, and somatic/physical, sleep disturbances and chronic aches and pains, categories of depression are discussed. Concurrently, the amelioration of several biomarkers associated with depressive states: hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis homeostasis, anti-neurodegenerative effects, monoamine metabolism regulation and neuroimmune functioning. The notion that physical exercise may function as "scaffolding" that buttresses available network circuits, anti-inflammatory defences and neuroreparative processes, e.g. brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), holds a certain appeal.CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets - CNS & Neurological Disorders) 11/2014; 13(10). DOI:10.2174/1871527313666141130203245 · 2.70 Impact Factor