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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Mar 1;57(5):559-68.

Wheel running alters serotonin (5-HT) transporter, 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, and alpha 1b-adrenergic receptor mRNA in the rat raphe nuclei.

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Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0354, USA.



Altered serotonergic (5-HT) neurotransmission is implicated in the antidepressant and anxiolytic properties of physical activity. In the current study, we investigated whether physical activity alters factors involved in the regulation of central 5-HT neural activity.


In situ hybridization was used to quantify levels of 5-HT transporter (5-HTT), 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(1B), and alpha(1b)-adrenergic receptor (alpha(1b) ADR) messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) in the dorsal (DRN) and median raphe (MR) nuclei of male Fischer rats after either sedentary housing or 3 days, 3 weeks, or 6 weeks of wheel running.


Wheel running produced a rapid and lasting reduction of 5-HT(1B) mRNA in the ventral DRN. Three weeks of wheel running decreased 5-HTT mRNA in the DRN and MR and increased alpha(1b) ADR mRNA in the DRN. After 6 weeks of wheel running, 5-HTT mRNA remained reduced, but alpha(1b) ADR mRNA returned to sedentary levels. Serotonin(1A) mRNA was increased in the MR and certain DRN subregions after 6 weeks only.


Data suggest that the central 5-HT system is sensitive to wheel running in a time-dependent manner. The observed changes in mRNA regulation in a subset of raphe nuclei might contribute to the stress resistance produced by wheel running and the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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