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Behav Neurosci. 2007 Oct;121(5):992-1000.

Therapeutic effects of exercise: wheel running reverses stress-induced interference with shuttle box escape.

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


Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in humans, but therapeutic effects of exercise in an animal model of stress-related mood disorders have yet to be demonstrated. In the current study, the authors investigated the ability of wheel running to reverse a long-lasting interference with shuttle box escape produced by uncontrollable stress. Rats who remained sedentary following uncontrollable foot shock demonstrated robust conditioned freezing behavior to the stressor environment and deficits in shuttle box escape learning. Voluntary access to running wheels for 6 weeks, but not 2 weeks, following uncontrollable foot shock reduced the expression of conditioned freezing and reversed the escape deficit. Results demonstrate a long-lasting interference with shuttle box escape that can be reversed by exercise in a duration-dependent fashion.

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