Author(s): Garza AA, Ha TG, Garcia C, Chen MJ, RussoNeustadt AA
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Abstract Principal mental disorders affecting the geriatric population include dementia and depression. A lack of trophic support is thought to contribute to the pathology of these disorders. Physical activity and antidepressant treatment increase the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the young rat hippocampus. Herein, we investigated the responsiveness of the aging rat hippocampus to antidepressant treatment and voluntary exercise. In situ hybridization revealed that, in young animals, exercise, antidepressant treatment, or their combination elevated BDNF mRNA levels in several hippocampal regions, most notably in the CA3, CA4, and dentate gyrus (DG). This effect was rapid (detectable at 2 days) and sustainable to 20 days. In aged (22-month-old) rats, hippocampal responsiveness to antidepressant treatment and exercise was also rapid and sustainable, but evident mostly in the CA1 and CA2. Daily swimming also revealed that small amounts of activity led to marked elevations in hippocampal BDNF mRNA. The differences in regional patterns of BDNF mRNA elevations between young and aged animals observed with running were maintained with this different exercise modality. Our results indicate that the aged brain is responsive to exercise and antidepressant treatment, and changes in regional response patterns may reflect shifts in hippocampal physiology during the lifespan.
This article was published in Pharmacol Biochem Behav
and referenced in Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy