Author(s): MokhtariZaer A, GhodratiJaldbakhan S, Vafaei AA, MiladiGorji H, Akhavan MM,
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Abstract Chronic exposure to morphine results in cognitive deficits and alterations of apoptotic proteins in favor of cell death in the hippocampus, a brain region critically involved in learning and memory. Physical activity has been shown to have beneficial effects on brain health. In the current work, we examined the effects of voluntary and treadmill exercise on spontaneous withdrawal signs, the associated cognitive defects, and changes of apoptotic proteins in morphine-dependent rats. Morphine dependence was induced through bi-daily administrations of morphine (10mg/kg) for 10 days. Then, the rats were trained under two different exercise protocols: mild treadmill exercise or voluntary wheel exercise for 10 days. After exercise training, their spatial learning and memory and aversive memory were examined by a water maze and by an inhibitory avoidance task, respectively. The expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax and the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 in the hippocampus were determined by immunoblotting. We found that chronic exposure to morphine impaired spatial and aversive memory and remarkably suppressed the expression of Bcl-2, but Bax expression remained constant. Both voluntary and treadmill exercise alleviated memory impairment, increased the expression of Bcl-2 protein, and only the later suppressed the expression of Bax protein in morphine-dependent animals. Moreover, both exercise protocols diminished the occurrence of spontaneous morphine withdrawal signs. Our findings showed that exercise reduces the spontaneous morphine-withdrawal signs, blocks the associated impairment of cognitive performance, and overcomes morphine-induced alterations in apoptotic proteins in favor of cell death. Thus, exercise may be a useful therapeutic strategy for cognitive and behavioral deficits in addict individuals. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation