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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2012 Jan;97(1):90-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2011.09.008. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

Forced treadmill exercise prevents oxidative stress and memory deficits following chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in the rat.

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Programa de Pós-graduação em Neurociências, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


Physical activity impacts functional recovery following stroke in humans, however its effects in experimental animals submitted to chronic cerebral hypoperfusion have not been investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic potential of exercise, as assessed by cognitive activity in the Morris water maze and the brain oxidative status, through measurement of macromolecules damage, TBARS levels and total cellular thiols, as well as antioxidant enzymes in hippocampus, striatum and cerebral cortex. Adult male Wistar rats were submitted to the modified permanent bilateral occlusion of the common carotid arteries (2VO) method, with right common carotid artery being first occluded, and tested 3 months after the ischemic event. The effects of three different exercise protocols were examined: pre-ischemia, post-ischemia and pre+post-ischemia. Physical exercise consisted of sessions of 20-min, 3 times per week during 12 weeks (moderate intensity). Rats were submitted to cognitive assessment, in both reference and working spatial memory and after the last testing session were sacrificed to have oxidative stress parameters determined. Hypoperfusion caused a significant cognitive deficit in both spatial water maze tasks and this effect was reversed in rats receiving exercise protocol post and pre+post the ischemic event. Moreover, forced regular treadmill exercise regulated oxidative damage and antioxidant enzyme activity in the hippocampus. These results suggest that physical exercise protects against cognitive and biochemical impairments caused by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion.

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