Clinical evidence suggests that patients with subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD) perform better at cognitive tests after exercise. However, the underlying mechanism for this effect is largely unknown. Here, we examined how treadmill exercise changes the cognitive function and white matter cellular pathology in a mouse model of SIVD. Prolonged cerebral hypoperfusion was induced in 2-month-old male C57BL/6J mice by bilateral common carotid artery stenosis. A week later, the mice were randomly divided into a group that received 6-week treadmill exercise and a sedentary group for observation. In multiple behavioral tests (Y-maze, novel object recognition, and Morris water maze tests), the treadmill exercise training was shown to ameliorate cognitive decline in the hypoperfused SIVD mice. In addition, immunohistological analyses confirmed that there was a larger population of oligodendrocyte precursor cells in the subventricular zone of exercised versus sedentary mice. Although further investigations are needed to confirm a causal link between these findings, our study establishes a model and cellular foundation for investigating the mechanisms through which exercise preserves cognitive function in SIVD.
Keywords: Oligodendrocyte precursor cell; Subcortical ischemic vascular dementia; Subventricular zone; Treadmill exercise; White matter.
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