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Front Behav Neurosci. 2017 Mar 8;11:42. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00042. eCollection 2017.

Habituation Training Improves Locomotor Performance in a Forced Running Wheel System in Rats.

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Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology, School of Medicine, University of MurciaMurcia, Spain; Institute of Biomedical Research of Murcia (IMIB), Virgen de la Arrixaca University Hospital, University of MurciaMurcia, Spain.
Department of Physical Activity and Sport, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Murcia Murcia, Spain.
Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, University of Murcia Murcia, Spain.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University North Chicago, IL, USA.


Increasing evidence supports that physical activity promotes mental health; and regular exercise may confer positive effects in neurological disorders. There is growing number of reports that requires the analysis of the impact of physical activity in animal models. Exercise in rodents can be performed under voluntary or forced conditions. The former presents the disadvantage that the volume and intensity of exercise varies from subject to subject. On the other hand, a major challenge of the forced training protocol is the low level of performance typically achieved within a given session. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of gradual increasing of the volume and intensity (training habituation protocol) to improve the locomotor performance in a forced running-wheel system in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to either a group that received an exercise training habituation protocol, or a control group. The locomotor performance during forced running was assessed by an incremental exercise test. The experimental results reveal that the total running time and the distance covered by habituated rats was significantly higher than in control ones. We conclude that the exercise habituation protocol improves the locomotor performance in forced running wheels.


acclimation protocols; exercise; familiarization protocols; physical activity; rodents

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