Article

Exercise enhances learning and hippocampal neurogenesis in aged mice

Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 10/2005; 25(38):8680-5. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1731-05.2005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aging causes changes in the hippocampus that may lead to cognitive decline in older adults. In young animals, exercise increases hippocampal neurogenesis and improves learning. We investigated whether voluntary wheel running would benefit mice that were sedentary until 19 months of age. Specifically, young and aged mice were housed with or without a running wheel and injected with bromodeoxyuridine or retrovirus to label newborn cells. After 1 month, learning was tested in the Morris water maze. Aged runners showed faster acquisition and better retention of the maze than age-matched controls. The decline in neurogenesis in aged mice was reversed to 50% of young control levels by running. Moreover, fine morphology of new neurons did not differ between young and aged runners, indicating that the initial maturation of newborn neurons was not affected by aging. Thus, voluntary exercise ameliorates some of the deleterious morphological and behavioral consequences of aging.

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