Exercising Our Brains: How Physical Activity Impacts Synaptic Plasticity in the Dentate Gyrus
- 866 Downloads
Exercise that engages the cardiovascular system has a myriad of effects on the body; however, we usually do not give much consideration to the benefits it may have for our minds. An increasing body of evidence suggests that exercise can have some remarkable effects on the brain. In this article, we will introduce how exercise can impact the capacity for neurons in the brain to communicate with one another. To properly convey this information, we will first briefly introduce the field of synaptic plasticity and then examine how the introduction of exercise to the experimental setting can actually alter the basic properties of synaptic plasticity in the brain. Next, we will examine some of the candidate physiological processes that might underlay these alterations. Finally, we will close by noting that, taken together, this data points toward our brains being dynamic systems that are in a continual state of flux and that physical exercise may help us to maximize the performance of both our body and our minds.
KeywordsExercise Neurogenesis Synaptic plasticity Vasculature Neurotrophins NMDA Serotonin
This work was funded by grants from NSERC, CIHR, and ABMRF to BRC. BRC is a Michael Smith Foundation Senior Scholar. BDE is a CIHR graduate scholarship recipient. JS is a UVIC graduate scholarship recipient. AKT holds a University Graduate Fellowship, a Pacifica Family Addiction Foundation Geoffrey Lane Nanson Scholarship and The Pacific Century Graduate Scholarship at UBC.
- Black, J. E., Isaacs, K. R., Anderson, B. J., Alcantara, A. A., & Greenough, W. T. (1990). Learning causes synaptogenesis, whereas motor activity causes angiogenesis, in cerebellar cortex of adult rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87, 5568–5572.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bliss, T., Collingridge, G., & Morris, R. (2007). Synaptic Plasticity in the Hippocampus. In P. Andersen, R. Morris, D. Amaral, T. Bliss, & J. O'Keefe (Eds.), The hippocampus book (pp. 343–474). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Caldeira, M. V., Melo, C. V., Pereira, D. B., et al. (2007). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor regulates the expression and synaptic delivery of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptor subunits in hippocampal neurons. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282, 12619–12628.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Claflin, D. I., Hennessy, M. B., & Jensen, S. J. (2005). Sex-specific effects of corticosterone on hippocampally mediated learning in young rats. Physiology & Behaviour, 85, 159–166.Google Scholar
- Conrad, C. D., Jackson, J. L., Wieczorek, L., et al. (2004). Acute stress impairs spatial memory in male but not female rats: influence of estrous cycle. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 78, 569–579.Google Scholar
- Dey, S., Singh, R. H., & Dey, P. K. (1992). Exercise training: significance of regional alterations in serotonin metabolism of rat brain in relation to antidepressant effect of exercise. Physiology & Behaviour, 52, 1095–1099.Google Scholar
- Hebb, C. O., & Konzett, H. (1949). The effect of certain analgesic drugs on synaptic transmission as observed in the perfused superior cervical ganglion of the cat. Quaterly Journal of Experimental Physiology and Cognate Medical Sciences, 35, 213–217.Google Scholar
- Ivy, A. S., Rodriguez, F. G., Garcia, C., Chen, M. J., & Russo-Neustadt, A. A. (2003). Noradrenergic and serotonergic blockade inhibits BDNF mRNA activation following exercise and antidepressant. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 75, 81–88.Google Scholar
- Korte, M., Griesbeck, O., Gravel, C., et al. (1996). Virus-mediated gene transfer into hippocampal CA1 region restores long-term potentiation in brain-derived neurotrophic factor mutant mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93, 12547–12552.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Oberlander, T. F., Warburton, W., Misri, S., Aghajanian, J., & Hertzman, C. (2006). Neonatal outcomes after prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants and maternal depression using population-based linked health data. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 898–906.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wadley, V. G., McClure, L. A., Howard, V. J., et al. (2007). Cognitive status, stroke symptom reports, and modifiable risk factors among individuals with no diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack in the reasons for geographic and racial differences in stroke (REGARDS) study. Stroke, 38, 1143–1147.PubMedGoogle Scholar