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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2013 May;31(3):214-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Treadmill exercise ameliorates symptoms of methimazole-induced hypothyroidism through enhancing neurogenesis and suppressing apoptosis in the hippocampus of rat pups.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.


Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in new neuron production and maturation during brain development. Physical exercise is known to promote cell survival and functional recovery after brain injuries. In the present study, we investigated the effects of treadmill exercise on short-term memory, spatial learning ability, neurogenesis, and apoptosis in hypothyroidism rat pups. On the 14th perinatal day, the pregnant rats were divided into two groups: the maternal control group and the maternal methimazole (MMI)-treated group. For the induction of hypothyroidism in rat pups, MMI was added to the drinking water (0.02%, wt/vol), from the 14th prenatal day to the 49th postnatal day. After delivery, the male rat pups born from the maternal control group were assigned into the control group and the control and exercise group. The rat pups born from the maternal MMI-treated group were divided into the hypothyroidism-induction group and the hypothyroidism-induction and treadmill exercise group. The rat pups in the exercise groups were forced to run on a motorized treadmill for 30min once a day, starting on the 22nd postnatal day for 4 weeks. Induction of hypothyroidism during the fetal and early postnatal period showed suppression of neurogenesis and enhancement of apoptosis in the hippocampus. Short-term memory and spatial learning ability were deteriorated in the hypothyroidism rat pups. Treadmill exercise during the postnatal period increased neurogenesis and inhibited apoptosis, and resulted in the improvement of short-term memory and spatial learning ability in the hypothyroidism rat pups.

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