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Physical Exercise Improves Total Antioxidant Capacity and Gene Expression in Rat Hippocampal Tissue

F. Franzoni, G. Federighi, J. Fusi, E. Cerri, R. Banducci, A. Petrocchi, A. Innocenti, C. Pruneti, S. Daniele, S. Pellegrini, C. Martini, R. Scuri, F. Galetta


Exercise may exert beneficial effects on cognitive functions and play an important role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Such effects seem to be mediated by changes in anti-oxidative status, but limited information is available on the nature of molecular pathways supporting the antioxidant effects of exercise in the brain. In this study 3-5-month-old male Wistar albino rats were subjected to three times/week moderate intensity exercise on a rodent treadmill for a period of 6 weeks. The tissue antioxidant activity towards various reactive oxygen species (ROS) was determined in the hippocampus. In addition, to identify the molecular pathways that may be involved in ROS metabolism, the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) and sirtuins (SIRT1 and SIRT3) were measured. Our results showed a higher antioxidant activity in the hippocampus of physically trained rats compared to sedentary controls. Furthermore, exercise induced an up-regulation of NGF, possibly related to an improved redox balance in the hippocampus. These results suggest that physical exercise might prevent age- induced oxidative damage in the hippocampus.


Physical activity, NGF, Free radicals, SIRT1, SIRT3

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