The rate of training response to aerobic exercise affects brain function of rats

Neurochem Int. 2016 Oct;99:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2016.05.012. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


There is an increasing volume of data connecting capacity to respond to exercise training with quality of life and aging. In this study, we used a rat model in which animals were selectively bred for low and high gain in running distance to test t whether genetic segregation for trainability is associated with brain function and signaling processes in the hippocampus. Rats selected for low response (LRT) and high response training (HRT) were randomly divided into control or exercise group that trained five times a week for 30 min per day for three months at 70% VO2max. All four groups had similar running distance before training. With training, HRT rats showed significantly greater increases in VO2max and running distance than LRT rats (p < 0.05). On the reverse Morris Maze test HRT-trained rats outperformed HRT control ones. Significant difference was noted between LRT and HRT groups in redox milieu as assessed by levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), carbonylation of proteins, nNOS and S-nitroso-cysteine. Moreover the silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), ratio of phospho and total cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB), and apoptotic index, also showed significant differences between LRT and HRT groups. These findings suggest that aerobic training responses are not localized to skeletal muscle, but differently involve signaling processes in the brain of LRT and HRT rats.

Keywords: Brain derived neurotrophic factor; Brain function; Exercise; Redox signaling; Trainability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / methods*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Reactive Oxygen Species