The impact of voluntary exercise on mental health in rodents: A neuroplasticity perspective

Laboratory of Behavioural Neurobiology, ETH Zurich, Schorenstrasse 16, Schwerzenbach, Switzerland.
Behavioural Brain Research (Impact Factor: 3.03). 10/2008; 192(1):42-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.03.014
Source: PubMed


There is growing interest in the effects of voluntary wheel running activity on brain and behaviour in laboratory rodents and their implications to humans. Here, the major findings to date on the impact of exercise on mental health and diseases as well as the possible underlying neurobiological mechanisms are summarised. Several critical modulating factors on the neurobehavioural effects of wheel running exercise are emphasized and discussed--including the amount of wheel running, sex and strain/species differences. We also reported the outcome of an empirical investigation of the impact of wheel running exercise on the expression of both cognitive and non-cognitive phenotypes in a triple (3 x Tg-AD) transgenic mouse model for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Clear sex- and paradigm-specific effects of exercise on the genetically determined phenotypes are illustrated, including the efficacy of wheel running activity in attenuating the sex-specific cognitive deficits. It is concluded that the wheel running paradigm represents a unique environmental manipulation for the investigation of neurobehavioural plasticity in terms of gene-environment interactions relevant to the pathogenesis and therapies of certain neuropsychiatric conditions.


Available from: Benjamin K Yee
  • Source
    • "Examining metacognitive skills in this way may be critical to understanding occupational deficits in persons with SUDs, a population characterized by apparent loss of volitional control over one's actions and an inability to accurately appraise and adapt one's actions to facilitate desired outcomes and experiences (American Psychiatric Association , 2013). Furthermore, while numerous studies have detailed the underlying neuropathological changes associated with addictive disorders, the ability to intervene at this microlevel is currently quite limited (e.g., Bart, 2012; Pietropaolo , Sun, Li, Brana, Feldon, & Yee, 2008). Examining function at the intermediate level of metacognitive capacity may provide a better understanding of some of the cognitive underpinnings of social and occupational difficulties related to SUDs at a level more amenable to intervention than neurophysiological mechanisms. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Addiction is a massive public health problem in which a person’s occupational life is compromised and metacognition is impaired. Occupational therapists may play a critical role in addiction rehabilitation, but more information about patterns of metacognitive deficit co-occurring with addictive behaviour is needed to develop interventions that specifically target these impairments.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Source
    • "For example, studies have shown that interventions can change or normalize the altered basal cortisol levels associated with child maltreatment or caregiving disruptions (Cicchetti et al., 2011; Dozier, Peloso, Lewis, Laurenceau, & Levine, 2008; Fisher, Stoolmiller, Gunnar, & Burraston, 2007; Gunnar et al., 2006). Evidence is accumulating to indicate that exercise can play a protective role in dysregulation of the stress system and its potential deleterious effects (Erickson et al., 2013; Pietropaolo et al., 2008; Tsatsoulis & Fountoulakis, 2006). Exercise is thought to affect both the HPA axis and serotonergic system (Tsatsoulis & Fountoulakis, 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which may underlie some of the behavioral and adaptive problems seen in individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Infants prenatally exposed to alcohol show altered basal and post-stress cortisol levels, but it is unknown if this persists beyond 2 years of age. It is also unknown if cortisol levels can be normalized through intervention programs. In this study, we investigated the effects of a physical activity program for children with FASD to determine: 1) if HPA dysregulation persists in school-age children with FASD, and 2) the effect of our program on cortisol levels. Twenty six children (ages 6–14 years) with FASD participated in an 8 week motor skill development program. Salivary cortisol levels were measured in 24 children and compared at 4 time points: before, immediately after, 3 months, and 1 year after program completion. Cortisol levels were also compared to 32 control children to evaluate the long-term effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on HPA regulation. For each time point, saliva was collected on each of 2 days at 3 times in the diurnal cycle: awakening, after school, and just before bedtime. Cortisol levels were significantly higher in the afternoon and at bedtime in children with FASD with confirmed prenatal exposure to high levels of alcohol (alcohol exposure rank 4), compared with Control children or children with FASD with exposure to low or unknown levels of alcohol (alcohol exposure rank 3). The program did not significantly affect cortisol levels in children with FASD as a group. These results provide support for long-term effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the HPA system in humans, which could increase vulnerability to mental health issues and diseases later in life.KeywordsFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disordercortisolprenatal alcohol exposureHPA axisexercisephysical activityintervention programs
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Alcohol
  • Source
    • "Female Tg2576 mice show significantly increased plaque burden and overall higher ␤A40 levels than males [104], and female JNPL3 also exhibit greater pathology than the respective males [105] [106]. So, on the basis of the above-mentioned findings, it is reasonable to hypothesize that those gender differences in neuropathological progression (and even on the cognitive domain) may contribute to the enhanced cognitive impairment of 3xTgAD females, as observed in the present study and in other reports [10] [74] [99]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder and cause of senile dementia. It is characterized by an accelerated memory loss, and alterations of mood, reason, judgment and language. The main neuropathological hallmarks of the disorder are β-amyloid (βA) plaques and neurofibrillary Tau tangles. The triple transgenic 3xTgAD mouse model develops βA and Tau pathologies in a progressive manner which mimicks the pattern that takes place in the human brain with AD, and showing cognitive alterations characteristic of the disease. The present study intended to examine whether 3xTgAD mice of both sexes present cognitive, emotional and other behavioral alterations at the early age of 4 months, an age in which only some intraneuronal amyloid accumulation is found. Neonatal handling (H) is an early-life treatment known to produce profound and long-lasting behavioural and neurobiological effects in rodents, as well as improvements in cognitive functions. Therefore, we also aimed at evaluating the effects of H on the behavioural/cognitive profile of 4-month-old male and female 3xTgAD mice. The results indicate that, 1) 3xTgAD mice present spatial learning/memory deficits and emotional alterations already at the early age of 4 months, 2) there exists sexual dimorphism effects on several behavioral variables at this age, 3) neonatal handling exerts a preventive effect on some cognitive (spatial learning) and emotional alterations appearing in 3xTgAD mice already at early ages, and 4) H treatment appears to produce stronger positive effects in females than in males in several spatial learning measures and in the open field test. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Behavioural Brain Research
Show more