Changes in mRNA levels for brain-derived neurotrophic factor after wheel running in rats selectively bred for high- and low-aerobic capacity
Groves-Chapman, Jessica Lee
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Voluntary wheel running by rodents increases mRNA expression of BDNF, a neurotrophic protein in the hippocampus that is important in learning, memory, and prophylaxis against depression. Evidence from single and repeated exposures to activity wheel running is unclear about whether there is a dose-response relation between running distance and the induction of BDNF expression. After three weeks of exposure to activity wheels, rats bred for high or low intrinsic aerobic running capacity had similar increases in BDNF mRNA in Ammon’s horn area 1 (CA1) of the hippocampus. Furthermore, cumulative running distance was not related to BDNF mRNA. The results, observed across a wider range of running distances than reported in prior studies, do not support a putative dose-response relationship between wheel running and BDNF expression in the hippocampus. Research is needed to further clarify the threshold of wheel running that induces BDNF transcription and mechanisms that explain this neurotrophic effect.