Effects of exercise on gene-expression profile in the rat hippocampus

Neurobiol Dis. 2001 Dec;8(6):1046-56. doi: 10.1006/nbdi.2001.0427.


Exercise has beneficial effects on brain function, including the promotion of plasticity and the enhancement of learning and memory performance. Previously we found that exercise increases the expression of certain neurotrophic factors including brain derived neurotrophic factor in the rat hippocampus. To further explore the molecular mechanisms underlying these changes, we used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays containing probe sets representing approximately 5000 genes to analyze the level of gene transcripts in the hippocampus of rats voluntary running for 3 weeks in comparison with sedentary animals. An improved statistical approach for the analysis of DNA microarray data, Cyber-T, was utilized in data analysis. Here we show that exercise leads to changes in the level of a large number of gene transcripts, many of which are known to be associated with neuronal activity, synaptic structure, and neuronal plasticity. Our data indicate that exercise elicits a differential gene expression pattern with significant changes in genes of relevance for brain function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Immune System / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Protein Transport / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuropeptides