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Front Cell Neurosci. 2017 Jan 31;11:13. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00013. eCollection 2017.

Intense Exercise Promotes Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis But Not Spatial Discrimination.

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Department of Physiology, School of Basic Medicine, Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan, China.
Tianjin Institute of Integrative Medicine for Acute Abdominal Disease, Nankai Hospital Tianjin, China.
Department of Physiology, School of Basic Medicine, Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhan, China; Institute of Brain Research, Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science, Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhan, China; Hubei Key Laboratory of Drug Target Research and Pharmacodynamic Evaluation, Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhan, China.


Hippocampal neurogenesis persists throughout adult life and plays an important role in learning and memory. Although the influence of physical exercise on neurogenesis has been intensively studied, there is controversy in regard to how the impact of exercise may vary with its regime. Less is known about how distinct exercise paradigms may differentially affect the learning behavior. Here we found that, chronic moderate treadmill running led to an increase of cell proliferation, survival, neuronal differentiation, and migration. In contrast, intense running only promoted neuronal differentiation and migration, which was accompanied with lower expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, insulin-like growth factor 1, and erythropoietin. In addition, the intensely but not mildly exercised animals exhibited a lower mitochondrial activity in the dentate gyrus. Correspondingly, neurogenesis induced by moderate but not intense exercise was sufficient to improve the animal's ability in spatial pattern separation. Our data indicate that the effect of exercise on spatial learning is intensity-dependent and may involve mechanisms other than a simple increase in the number of new neurons.


erythropoietin; hippocampus; neurotrophic factors; pattern separation; prohibitin

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