Jingyu Xiong, Shicheng Li, Yaxin Sun, Xiaoshuang Zhang, Zhizhang Dong, Ping Zhong, Xuerong Sun
Biol Sport 2015; 32(4):295-300
Increasing evidence suggests that physical activity could delay or attenuate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). But the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood. To investigate the effect of long-term treadmill exercise on the spatial memory of AD mice and the possible role of β-amyloid, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and microglia in the effect, male APPswe/PS1dE9 AD mice aged 4 months were subjected to treadmill exercise for 5 months with 6 sessions per week and gradually increased load. A Morris water maze was used to evaluate the spatial memory. Expression levels of β-amyloid, BDNF and Iba-1 (a microglia marker) in brain tissue were detected by immunohistochemistry. Sedentary AD mice and wildtype C57BL/6J mice served as controls. The results showed that 5-month treadmill exercise significantly decreased the escape latencies (P<0.01 on the 4th day) and improved the spatial memory of the AD mice in the water maze test. Meanwhile, treadmill exercise significantly increased the number of BDNF-positive cells and decreased the ratios of activated microglia in both the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus. However, treadmill exercise did not significantly alleviate the accumulation of β-amyloid in either the cerebral cortex or the hippocampus of the AD mice (P>0.05). The study suggested that long-term treadmill exercise could improve the spatial memory of the male APPswe/PS1dE9 AD mice. The increase in BDNF-positive cells and decrease in activated microglia might underpin the beneficial effect.