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J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2017 Dec 31;21(4):52-57. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2017.0034.

Effects of acute voluntary loaded wheel running on BDNF expression in the rat hippocampus.



Voluntary loaded wheel running involves the use of a load during a voluntary running activity. A muscle-strength or power-type activity performed at a relatively high intensity and a short duration may cause fewer apparent metabolic adaptations but may still elicit muscle fiber hypertrophy. This study aimed to determine the effects of acute voluntary wheel running with an additional load on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the rat hippocampus.


Ten-week old male Wistar rats were assigned randomly to a (1) sedentary (Control) group; (2) voluntary exercise with no load (No-load) group; or (3) voluntary exercise with an additional load (Load) group for 1-week (acute period). The expression of BDNF genes was quantified by real-time PCR.


The average distance levels were not significantly different in the No-load and Load groups. However, the average work levels significantly increased in the Load group. The relative soleus weights were greater in the No-load group. Furthermore, loaded wheel running up-regulated the BDNF mRNA level compared with that in the Control group. The BDNF mRNA levels showed a positive correlation with workload levels (r=0.75), suggesting that the availability of multiple workload levels contributes to the BDNF-related benefits of loaded wheel running noted in this study.


This novel approach yielded the first set of findings showing that acute voluntary loaded wheel running, which causes muscular adaptation, enhanced BDNF expression, suggesting a possible role of high-intensity short-term exercise in hippocampal BDNF activity.


voluntary loaded wheel running

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