Running is rewarding and antidepressive

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.98). 10/2007; 92(1-2):136-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.05.015
Source: PubMed


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.

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Available from: Stefan Brené
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    • "The underlying mechanisms have been partly understood. For instance, running could upregulate endogenous neurogenesis [4] or prevent the aging-related reduction of that [5]; it could also influence the central dopaminergic, noradrenergic and serotonergic systems, induce expression of neurotrophins and neuropeptides [6], and mentally be rewarding as well as antidepressive [7]. There are growing evidences on the positive effects of physical exercises from brain function and cognitive-affective performance to rehabilitation, as well as various clinical reports including immune modulation and neurotrophic hypothesis [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The activity dependent brain repair mechanism has been widely adopted in many types of neurorehabilitation. The activity leads to target specific and non-specific beneficial effects in different brain regions, such as the releasing of neurotrophic factors, modulation of the cytokines and generation of new neurons in adult hood. However physical exercise program clinically are limited to some of the patients with preserved motor functions; while many patients suffered from paralysis cannot make such efforts. Here the authors proposed the employment of mirror neurons system in promoting brain rehabilitation by "observation based stimulation". Mirror neuron system has been considered as an important basis for action understanding and learning by mimicking others. During the action observation, mirror neuron system mediated the direct activation of the same group of motor neurons that are responsible for the observed action. The effect is clear, direct, specific and evolutionarily conserved. Moreover, recent evidences hinted for the beneficial effects on stroke patients after mirror neuron system activation therapy. Finally some music-relevant therapies were proposed to be related with mirror neuron system.
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    • "This may be due to the factor that aromatase, an estrogen synthase, increases in males and decreases in females after acute exercise (Aizawa et al., 2008). Compared to voluntary wheel running, which has reinforcing and rewarding properties, forced treadmill running is a more passive exercise and is commonly used for measurable interventions or treatment (Belke and Wagner, 2005; Greenwood et al., 2011; Brené et al., 2007; Leasure and Jones, 2008). In terms of examining the rehabilitation effect of forced treadmill running on brain injury, a study found that slow continuous training is effective only in male mice, while more intense interval training produces results in females (English et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulated research supports the idea that exercise could be an option of potential prevention and treatment for drug addiction. During the past few years, there has been increased interest in investigating of sex differences in exercise and drug addiction. This demonstrates that sex-specific exercise intervention strategies may be important for preventing and treating drug addiction in men and women. However, little is known about how and why sex differences are found when doing exercise-induced interventions for drug addiction. In this review, we included both animal and human that pulled subjects from a varied age demographic, as well as neurobiological mechanisms that may highlight the sex-related differences in these potential to assess the impact of sex-specific roles in drug addiction and exercise therapies. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology
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    • "The loxTB Mc4r mice used in our study were also generated on a 129 background [5], but they and their experimental littermates had been backcrossed to a C57BL/6J background for at least 8 generations. C57BL/6J mice have a high preference whereas 129 mice have very little preference for VWR [58], thus likely limiting the ability to discover statistical differences in VWR behavior on a (partial) 129 background. Finally, using both body weight-matched WT controls and ICV SHU9119 administration, we demonstrated that loss "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4Rs) are highly expressed by dopamine-secreting neurons of the mesolimbic tract, but their functional role has not been fully resolved. Voluntary wheel running (VWR) induces adaptations in the mesolimbic dopamine system and has a myriad of long-term beneficial effects on health. In the present experiments we asked whether MC4R function regulates the effects of VWR, and whether VWR ameliorates MC4R-associated symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. Methods: Electrically evoked dopamine release was measured in slice preparations from sedentary wild-type and MC4R-deficient Mc4r (K314X) (HOM) rats. VWR was assessed in wild-type and HOM rats, and in MC4R-deficient loxTB (Mc4r) mice, wild-type mice body weight-matched to loxTB (Mc4r) mice, and wild-type mice with intracerebroventricular administration of the MC4R antagonist SHU9119. Mesolimbic dopamine system function (gene/protein expression) and metabolic parameters were examined in wheel-running and sedentary wild-type and HOM rats. Results: Sedentary obese HOM rats had increased electrically evoked dopamine release in several ventral tegmental area (VTA) projection sites compared to wild-type controls. MC4R loss-of-function decreased VWR, and this was partially independent of body weight. HOM wheel-runners had attenuated markers of intracellular D1-type dopamine receptor signaling despite increased dopamine flux in the VTA. VWR increased and decreased ΔFosB levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of wild-type and HOM runners, respectively. VWR improved metabolic parameters in wild-type wheel-runners. Finally, moderate voluntary exercise corrected many aspects of the metabolic syndrome in HOM runners. Conclusions: Central dopamine dysregulation during VWR reinforces the link between MC4R function and molecular and behavioral responding to rewards. The data also suggest that exercise can be a successful lifestyle intervention in MC4R-haploinsufficient individuals despite reduced positive reinforcement during exercise training.
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