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The effects of voluntary exercise on learning and memory deficit in Parkinson’s disease model of rats

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive and loss of dopaminergic neurons in the SNpc. Behavioral symptoms and cognitive impairments even dementia are common in Parkinson disease. Physical activity impacts functional recovery in humans, however, its effects in experimental animals submitted to Parkinson model have been inconsistent. The present work was focused on the neuroprotective effect of 4 weeks voluntary exercise (wheel running) against experimentally (6-OHDA) induced Parkinson’s disease in rat, by analyzing the memory and learning. Morris water maze test was used for measurement of spatial learning and memory. Results did not demonstrate any main effect differences between the exercise and control groups on weight gain (p > 0.05). 6-OHDA injection caused a significant cognitive deficit in spatial water maze tasks and this effect was reversed in rats after receiving exercise protocol. Voluntary exercise improved the cognitive performance in both reference and working spatial memory against 6-OHDA administration (p < 0.05). We suggest that voluntary exercise interventions may has the potential role in promoting neuroplasticity and repair cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

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The authors thank the Neuroscience Research Center of Kerman, Iran for financial support; Dr. Khadije Esmaeilpoue and Dr. Sina Kakoei for their technical assistance in this project.

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Correspondence to F. Rafie.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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All experiments were performed in accordance with the National Institutes of Health ‘Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals’ and approved by the Ethics Committee of Kerman Neuroscience Research Center.

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Rafie, F., Sheibani, V., Shahbazi, M. et al. The effects of voluntary exercise on learning and memory deficit in Parkinson’s disease model of rats. Sport Sci Health 15, 399–405 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-019-00531-7

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  • Parkinson
  • Voluntary exercise
  • Learning
  • Memory