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eNeuro. 2017 Aug 16;4(4). pii: ENEURO.0237-17.2017. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0237-17.2017. eCollection 2017 Jul-Aug.

Early-Age Running Enhances Activity of Adult-Born Dentate Granule Neurons Following Learning in Rats.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S1A8, Canada.
2
Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, Toronto, Ontario M6E2E1, Canada.
3
Department of Psychology, Trent University, Peterborough, K9J7B8, Canada.

Abstract

Cognitive reserve, the brain's capacity to draw on enriching experiences during youth, is believed to protect against memory loss associated with a decline in hippocampal function, as seen in normal aging and neurodegenerative disease. Adult neurogenesis has been suggested as a specific mechanism involved in cognitive (or neurogenic) reserve. The first objective of this study was to compare learning-related neuronal activity in adult-born versus developmentally born hippocampal neurons in juvenile male rats that had engaged in extensive running activity during early development or reared in a standard laboratory environment. The second objective was to investigate the long-term effect of exercise in rats on learning and memory of a contextual fear (CF) response later in adulthood. These aims address the important question as to whether exercise in early life is sufficient to build a reserve that protects against the process of cognitive aging. The results reveal a long-term effect of early running on adult-born dentate granule neurons and a special role for adult-born neurons in contextual memory, in a manner that is consistent with the neurogenic reserve hypothesis.

KEYWORDS:

adult neurogenesis; dentate gyrus; hippocampus; learning and memory; plasticity

PMID:
28824956
PMCID:
PMC5560743
DOI:
10.1523/ENEURO.0237-17.2017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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