Effects of chronic treadmill running on neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of adult rat.

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, Asashirodai1-1, Kumatori-cho, Sennan-gun, Osaka 590-0496, Japan.
Brain Research (Impact Factor: 2.83). 09/2006; 1104(1):64-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.05.066
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Proliferating astrocytes and proliferating neuroblasts have been observed in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus (DG) in the hippocampus of adult rats under normal conditions. However, whether these proliferating cells are stimulated by running has not been determined. Using immunohistochemical techniques, we examined the effects of chronic treadmill running on proliferating astrocytes (PCNA+/GFAP+ cells), proliferating neuroblasts (PCNA+/DCX+ cells) and newly generated postmitotic neurons (DCX+/NeuN+ cells) in the DG of the hippocampus of adult rats and also characterized the morphological features of PCNA+/GFAP+ cells and PCNA+/DCX+ cells. PCNA+/GFAP+ cells with few processes and PCNA+/DCX+ cells without long processes were detected in the SGZ, and we determined that these are morphological features of the astrocytes and neuroblasts with proliferative ability. Chronic treadmill running (at a speed of 22 m/min, 30 min/days for 7 days) significantly increased the numbers of PCNA+/GFAP+ cells and DCX+/NeuN+ cells, and the number of PCNA+/DCX+ cells tended to increase by chronic treadmill running. These results indicate that chronic treadmill running stimulates the proliferation of astrocytes in the SGZ. Furthermore, the present study indicates that chronic treadmill running increases DCX+/NeuN+ cells that are detected in a transient stage during the neuronal maturation process. These events may be the cellular basis mediating both running-induced increases of new neurons in the DG of the hippocampus and running-induced improvement of learning and memory functions of adult rats.

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