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Behav Neurosci. 2007 Apr;121(2):324-34.

Exercise improves memory acquisition and retrieval in the Y-maze task: relationship with hippocampal neurogenesis.

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Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Graduate School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.


Enhanced physical activity is associated with improvements in cognitive function in rodents as well as in humans. The authors examined in detail which aspects of learning and memory are influenced by exercise, using a spatial Y-maze test combined with a 14-day exercise paradigm at different stages of learning. The authors show that 14 days of wheel running promotes memory acquisition, memory retention, and reversal learning. The exercise paradigm that was employed also significantly increased the number of maturing neurons, suggesting that an increase in neurogenesis underlies the positive effects of exercise on Y-maze performance. Finally, the authors show that memory acquisition in itself does not have a major impact on the number of immature neurons. However, memory retention testing and reversal learning both cause a significant reduction in the number of doublecortin and Ser133- phosphorylated pCREB-positive cells, indicating that a decrease in neurogenesis might be a prerequisite for optimal memory retrieval.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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