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J Exerc Rehabil. 2016 Jun 30;12(3):156-62. doi: 10.12965/jer.1632644.322. eCollection 2016 Jun.

Treadmill exercise alleviates impairment of cognitive function by enhancing hippocampal neuroplasticity in the high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
Division of Leisure & Sports Science, Department of Exercise Prescription, Dongseo University, Busan, Korea.
Department of Golf Mapping, College of Arts Physical Education, Joongbu University, Geumsan, Korea.


Physical exercise is one of the most effective methods for managing obesity, and exercise exerts positive effects on various brain functions. Excessive weight gain is known to be related to the impairment of cognitive function. High-fat diet-induced obesity impairs hippocampal neuroplasticity, which impedes cognitive function, such as learning ability and memory function. In this study, we investigated the effect of treadmill exercise on impairment of cognitive function in relation with hippocampal neuroplasticity using high-fat diet-induced obese mice. After obesity was induced by a 20-week high-fat (60%) diet, treadmill exercise was performed for 12 weeks. In the present results, cognitive function was impaired in the high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tyrosin kinase B (TrkB) expression and cell proliferation were decreased in the high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Treadmill exercise improved cognitive function through enhancing neuroplasticity, including increased expression of BDNF and TrkB and enhanced cell proliferation. The present results suggest that treadmill exercise enhances hippocampal neuroplasticity, and then potentially plays a protective role against obesity-induced cognitive impairment.


High-fat diet; Hippocampus; Neuroplasticity; Obesity; Treadmill exercise

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