Previous studies indicated that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the main candidate to mediate the beneficial effects of exercise on cognitive function in sleep deprived male rats. In addition, our previous findings demonstrate that female rats are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance and synaptic plasticity. Therefore, the current study was designed to investigate the effects of treadmill exercise and/or sleep deprivation (SD) on the levels of BDNF mRNA and protein in the hippocampus of female rats. Intact and ovariectomized (OVX) female Wistar rats were used in the present experiment. The exercise protocol was four weeks treadmill running and sleep deprivation was accomplished using the multiple platform method. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunoblot analysis were used to evaluate the level of BDNF mRNA and protein in the rat hippocampus respectively. Our results showed that protein and mRNA expression of BDNF was significantly (p<0.05) decreased after 72 h SD in OVX rats in compared with other groups. Furthermore, sleep deprived OVX rats under exercise conditions had a significant (p<0.05) up-regulation of the BDNF protein and mRNA in the hippocampus. These findings suggest that regular exercise can exert a protective effect against hippocampus-related functions and impairments induced by sleep deprivation probably by inducing BDNF expression.
Keywords: Brain derived neurotrophic factors; Female rat; Physical exercise; Sleep deprivation.
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