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J Exerc Rehabil. 2016 Jun 30;12(3):148-55. doi: 10.12965/jer.1632638.319. eCollection 2016 Jun.

Music application alleviates short-term memory impairments through increasing cell proliferation in the hippocampus of valproic acid-induced autistic rat pups.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
KBS Institute of the Sports, Arts and Science, Seoul, Korea.
Division of Leisure & Sports Science, Department of Exercise Prescription, Dongseo University, Busan, Korea.


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder and this disorder shows impairment in reciprocal social interactions, deficits in communication, and restrictive and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. The effect of music on short-term memory in the view of cell proliferation in the hippocampus was evaluated using valproic acid-induced autistic rat pups. Animal model of autism was made by subcutaneous injection of 400-mg/kg valproic acid into the rat pups on the postnatal day 14. The rat pups in the music-applied groups were exposed to the 65-dB comfortable classic music for 1 hr once a day, starting postnatal day 15 and continued until postnatal day 28. In the present results, short-term memory was deteriorated by autism induction. The numbers of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyridine (BrdU)-positive, Ki-67-positive, and doublecortin (DCX)-positive cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus were decreased by autism induction. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) expressions in the hippocampus were also suppressed in the autistic rat pups. Music application alleviated short-term memory deficits with enhancing the numbers of BrdU-positive, Ki-67-positive, and DCX-positive cells in the autistic rat pups. Music application also enhanced BDNF and TrkB expressions in the autistic rat pups. The present study show that application of music enhanced hippocampal cell proliferation and alleviated short-term memory impairment through stimulating BDNF-TrkB signaling in the autistic rat pups. Music can be suggested as the therapeutic strategy to overcome the autism-induced memory deficits.


Autism; Cell proliferation; Hippocampus; Music; Short-term memory; Valproic acid

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