The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 435–443 | Cite as

Pre-ischemic exercise reduces apoptosis in hippocampal CA3 cells after cerebral ischemia by modulation of the Bax/Bcl-2 proteins ratio and prevention of caspase-3 activation

  • Nahid Aboutaleb
  • Nabi ShamsaeiEmail author
  • Mehdi Khaksari
  • Sohaila Erfani
  • Hamid Rajabi
  • Farnaz Nikbakht
Original Paper


Ischemia induces physiological alterations in neurons that lead to cell death. This study investigated the effects of pre-ischemic exercise on CA3 neurons. Rats were divided into three groups. Animals in the exercise group were trained 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Ischemia was induced by occlusion of both common carotid arteries (CCAs) for 20 min. Apoptotic cell death was detected by TUNEL assay. Furthermore, expression of different proteins was determined by immunohistochemical staining. The number of TUNEL-positive cells was significantly increased in the ischemia group, but pre-ischemic exercise significantly reduced apoptotic cell death (P < 0.001). In addition, our results showed a significant increase in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in the ischemia group. Pre-ischemic exercise attenuated this ratio (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the number of active caspase-3-positive neurons was significantly increased in the ischemia group, which was reduced markedly by exercise preconditioning (P < 0.05). This study showed that pre-ischemic exercise can exert neuroprotective effects against ischemia in CA3 neurons.


Exercise Ischemia Hippocampus Apoptosis 



This research was supported by a grant (contract no. 91052159) sponsored by the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF). The authors are very grateful to the INSF for financial support.

Conflict of interest

Nahid Aboutaleb, Nabi Shamsaei, Mehdi Khaksari, Sohaila Erfani, Hamid Rajabi and Farnaz Nikbakht declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nahid Aboutaleb
    • 1
  • Nabi Shamsaei
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mehdi Khaksari
    • 3
  • Sohaila Erfani
    • 4
  • Hamid Rajabi
    • 5
  • Farnaz Nikbakht
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiology Research Center and Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineIran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, Faculty of Literature and HumanitiesIlam UniversityIlamIran
  3. 3.School of MedicineShahroud University of Medical SciencesShahroudIran
  4. 4.Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of BiologyKharazmi UniversityTehranIran
  5. 5.Faculty of Physical Education and Sports ScienceKharazmi UniversityTehranIran

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