Alterations in fear conditioning and amygdalar activation following chronic wheel running in rats.
ABSTRACT Several convergent lines of evidence point to the amygdala as a key site of plasticity underlying most forms of fear conditioning. Studies have shown that chronic physical activity, such as wheel running, can alter learning in a variety of contexts, including aversive conditioning. The ability of chronic wheel running (WR) to alter both behavioral correlates of fear conditioning and indices of amygdalar activation, however, has not been simultaneously assessed. Here, rats were given constant access to either free-turning or--as a control--locked (LC) running wheels in their home cages. After 8 weeks of housing under these conditions, animals were exposed to a series of shocks in a separate testing chamber. Twenty-four hours later, the animals were returned to the shock chamber and freezing behavior was measured as an indicator of contextual fear conditioning. The animals were then sacrificed and their brains processed for immunohistochemical detection of Fos to assess patterns of putative neuronal activation. WR rats spent significantly more time freezing than their LC counterparts upon return to the shock-paired context. The enhanced conditioned freezing response was most pronounced in animals showing high levels of nightly wheel running activity. WR animals also had significantly higher levels of neuronal activation, as indicated by Fos expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala, but less activation in the basolateral nucleus, compared to sedentary controls. These data demonstrate the ability of chronic physical activity to alter contextual fear conditioning and implicate the amygdala as a potential site of plasticity underlying this phenomenon.
- SourceAvailable from: Sérgio Gomes da Silva[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Both fish oil supplementation and physical exercise are able to induce benefits to mental health by providing an improvement in cognitive performance and enhancing neuroplasticity and protection against neurological lesions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cognitive effects in rats of the: (1) a diary and prolonged fish oil supplementation (85mg/kg/day) initiated from prenatal period to the midlife (300 day/old); (2) moderate physical exercise in treadmill initiated from adolescent period to midlife and (3) association of fish oil supplementation and moderate physical exercise protocol during the same period. Animals were submitted to the habituation in the open-field, object recognition and to the plus-maze discriminative avoidance tasks. Our results demonstrated that a diary and prolonged fish oil supplementation can facilitate the persistence of the long-term habituation and recognition memories without, however, affecting the discriminative avoidance memory. Conversely, although the program of physical exercise exerted no effects on habituation or objects recognition, it was able to potentiate the persistence of the discriminative avoidance memory. Such promnestic effects (induced by both fish oil supplementation and physical exercise) were not accompanied by alterations in emotionality or locomotor activity. Our findings suggest that fish oil supplementation, initiated from prenatal period to midlife, and physical exercise program applied throughout the life induced distinctly a better cognitive performance.Behavioural brain research 10/2012; 237C:283-289. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.09.048 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Environmental enrichment is known to improve learning and memory in adult rodents. Whereas the morphological changes underlying these beneficial effects are well documented, few studies have addressed the influence of this housing condition on the neuronal networks underlying memory processes. We assessed the effects of environmental enrichment on behavioural performances and brain metabolic activation during a memory task in mice. Adult mice were housed in standard (SC) or enriched (EC) conditions for 3 weeks. Then, recent and remote memory performances were measured in the passive avoidance test. After testing, brain metabolic activation was assessed through cytochrome oxidase (CO) activity. EC improved recent memory, in association with an increased metabolic activation in the frontal and prefrontal cortices and a decreased activation in the baso-lateral amygdala and the hippocampus. EC did not improve remote memory, and globally decreased CO activity. Our findings suggest the involvement of regions of pivotal importance during recent memory, such as the frontal cortex, in the beneficial effects of EC.Behavioural brain research 11/2011; 228(1):22-9. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.11.022 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An overview of the literature on the emotional impacts of wheel running reveals contradictory findings. Among the hypotheses underlying such a discrepancy, that related to the different housing conditions of the controls, i.e., standard housing without any object or housing with blocked running wheels, merits attention. We addressed this point in C57Bl/6N mice by examining the consequences of chronic wheel running on anxiety, context fear recall, and behavioral despair compared either to standard control housing or to housing with blocked wheels. Compared to standard housing, wheel running proved anxiolytic while facilitating fear memory. On the other hand, wheel running increased behavioral despair but influenced neither anxiety nor fear memory when compared to housing with blocked wheels. This study suggests that investigations aimed at measuring the emotional consequences of wheel running should take into consideration the housing conditions of the controls to which are compared the runners.Hippocampus 03/2011; 21(3):239-42. DOI:10.1002/hipo.20778 · 4.30 Impact Factor