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Neuroprotective effects of different frequency preconditioning exercise on neuronal apoptosis after focal brain ischemia in rats

Takuto Terashi, Shotaro Otsuka, Seiya Takada, Kazuki Nakanishi, Koki Ueda, Megumi Sumizono, Kiyoshi Kikuchi, Harutoshi Sakakima
Neurological Research 2019 March 1, : 1-9

OBJECTIVE: Preconditioning exercise can exert neuroprotective effects after stroke; however, the effects of exercise intensity, frequency, duration are unknown. We investigated the neuroprotective effect of different frequency preconditioning exercise on neuronal apoptosis after cerebral ischemia in rats.

METHODS: Rats were divided into the following five groups: 5 times a week of exercise (5/w-Ex) group, 3 times a week of exercise (3/w-Ex) group, once a week of exercise (1/w-Ex) group, no exercise (No-Ex) group, and intact control (control) group. Rats were made to run on a treadmill for 30 min per day at a speed of 25 m/min for 3 weeks. After the running program, the rats were subjected to 60-min left middle cerebral artery occlusion. Two days after ischemia, the cerebral infarct volume, neurological and motor function, Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax)/B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) ratio, expression of caspase-3, and TUNEL positive cells were examined in the cerebral cortex surrounding the ischemic zone.

RESULTS: The 3/w-Ex and 5/w-Ex groups showed significantly reduced infarct volumes compared with the No-Ex group, but the 1/w-Ex group did not. In addition, the 3/w-Ex and 5/w-Ex groups had improved neurological scores and sensorimotor function compared with the No-Ex group. The Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, expression of caspase-3, and TUNEL-positive cells significantly decreased in the penumbra area in the 3/w-Ex or 5/w-Ex groups compared with the No-Ex group.

DISCUSSION: Our findings suggested that three times or more per week of high-intensity preconditioning exercise exert neuroprotective effects through the downregulation of the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and caspase-3 activation after stroke.

ABBREVIATIONS: TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated dUTP nick and labeling; MCAO:middle cerebral artery occlusion; BAX:Bcl-2-associated X protein; Bcl-2: B-cell lymphoma 2; TTC: 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazorlium chloride.


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