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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1998 Oct 30;61(1-2):147-53.

Exercise-induced regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) transcripts in the rat hippocampus.

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Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-4540, USA.


Previous results from our laboratory indicate that two nights of voluntary wheel running upregulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression in the hippocampus. In order to investigate the time-course of the BDNF response and to examine how physical activity preferentially activates particular transcriptional pathways, the effects of 6 and 12 h of voluntary wheel running on BDNF and exons I-IV mRNA expression were investigated in rats. Hippocampal full-length BDNF mRNA expression was rapidly influenced by physical activity, showing significant increases in expression levels as soon as 6 h of voluntary wheel running. Moreover, there was a strong positive correlation between distance run and BDNF mRNA expression. Exon I mRNA expression was significantly upregulated after 6 h of running and was maintained or enhanced by 12 h of voluntary running. Exon II had a slower time-course and was significantly upregulated after 12 h, selectively in the CA1 hippocampal region. Exon III and Exon IV showed no significant increase in expression level after 6 or 12 h of running in the paradigm studied. It is significant that the rapid neurotrophin response is demonstrated for a physiologically relevant stimulus, as opposed to the extreme conditions of seizure paradigms. Furthermore, exercise-induced upregulation of BDNF may help increase the brain's resistance to damage and neurodegeneration that occurs with aging.

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