Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 1047–1057 | Cite as

Chronic Swimming Exercise Ameliorates Low-Soybean-Oil Diet-Induced Spatial Memory Impairment by Enhancing BDNF-Mediated Synaptic Potentiation in Developing Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats

  • Mei Cheng
  • Jiyan Cong
  • Yulong Wu
  • Jiacun Xie
  • Siyuan Wang
  • Yue Zhao
  • Xiaoying Zang
Original Paper


Exercise and low-fat diets are common lifestyle modifications used for the treatment of hypertension besides drug therapy. However, unrestrained low-fat diets may result in deficiencies of low-unsaturated fatty acids and carry contingent risks of delaying neurodevelopment. While aerobic exercise shows positive neuroprotective effects, it is still unclear whether exercise could alleviate the impairment of neurodevelopment that may be induced by certain low-fat diets. In this research, developing spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were treated with chronic swimming exercise and/or a low-soybean-oil diet for 6 weeks. We found that performance in the Morris water maze was reduced and long-term potentiation in the hippocampus was suppressed by the diet, while a combination treatment of exercise and diet alleviated the impairment induced by the specific low-fat diet. Moreover, the combination treatment effectively increased the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor (NMDAR), which were both down-regulated by the low-soybean-oil diet in the hippocampus of developing SHR. These findings suggest that chronic swimming exercise can ameliorate the low-soybean-oil diet-induced learning and memory impairment in developing SHR through the up-regulation of BDNF and NMDAR expression.


Chronic swimming exercise Low-soybean-oil diet Cognitive function Developing spontaneously hypertensive rats 



This research was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 81501950 and 81672044) and from the Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (Grant No. 15JCQNJC12000). We thank Tian Xin for special help with conducting the animal experiments and Xiulan Zhao for technical assistance.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All animal protocols were approved by the Intramural Ethic Committee of Tianjin Medical University (ethics code: TMUaMEC 2015009), and conformed to the guidelines of the Chinese Council on Animal Protection.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Health and DiseaseBinzhou Medical UniversityYantaiChina
  2. 2.School of NursingTianjin Medical UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Department of Pathogenic BiologyBinzhou Medical UniversityYantaiChina
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyTianjin Medical UniversityTianjinChina

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