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Combined exercise ameliorates ovariectomy-induced cognitive impairment by enhancing cell proliferation and suppressing apoptosis

Kim, Tae-Woon PhD1; Kim, Chang-Sun PhD2; Kim, Ji-Yeon MS2; Kim, Chang-Ju MD, PhD1; Seo, Jin-Hee PhD3

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000486
Original Articles
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Objective: Estrogen plays an important role in cognitive function, including attention, learning, and memory, and affects the structure and function of brain areas. We investigated the effects of combined exercise on memory deficits induced by ovariectomy (OVX) in relation to cell proliferation and apoptosis in the hippocampus.

Methods: Rats were randomly divided into four groups: sham, sham and exercise, OVX, and OVX and exercise. Rats in combined exercise groups were subjected to 3 days of resistance training and 3 days of running (for a total of 6 d/wk) for eight consecutive weeks. Rats were tested in step-down avoidance task and Morris water maze task to verify the effects of OVX on short-term and spatial working memory.

Results: In the present study, the number of BrdU-positive and doublecortin-positive cells and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, TrkB, and Bcl-2 decreased; expression of Bax and the number of caspase-3–positive and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling–positive cells increased; and short-term and spatial working memory decreased in the OVX group compared with the sham group. Conversely, when the combined exercise group was compared with the OVX group, the number of BrdU-positive and doublecortin-positive cells and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, TrkB, and Bcl-2 increased; expression of Bax and the number of caspase-3–positive and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling–positive cells decreased; and short-term and spatial working memory increased.

Conclusions: Combined exercise increases cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in the hippocampus and improves cognitive function despite estrogen deficiency.

1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, KyungHee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2Department of Physical Education, College of Natural Science, DongDuk Women's University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

3Division of Sports Science, Baekseok University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.

Address correspondence to: Jin-Hee Seo, PhD, Division of Sports Science, Baekseok University, 330-704, 76 Munam-ro, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, Republic of Korea. E-mail: sjh0521@bu.ac.kr

Received 12 January, 2015

Revised 6 April, 2015

Accepted 6 April, 2015

Funding/support: None.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2016 by The North American Menopause Society.