Monday, 6 July 2015

Physical exercise improves brain cortex and cerebellum mitochondrial bioenergetics and alters apoptotic, dynamic and auto(mito)phagy markers.

Marques-Aleixo I, Santos-Alves E, Balça MM, Rizo-Roca D, Moreira PI, Oliveira PJ, Magalhães J, Ascensão A

Physical exercise does not only trigger the release of endorphins, it is good for your brain mitochondria!

Eighteen male rates were divided in three groups, 1) a group without physical activity, 2) a group with voluntary free wheel activity, and 3) a group with treadmill endurance training, 5 days a week for 12 weeks.
Some behavioural tests were performed, and eventually the brains of the decapitated rats were washed and analysed.

What were the results? From the behavioural point of view, the mice from group 3 (the most active group) showed a general increase in activity and more willingness to explore new spaces. What about the condition of the brains? In both group 2 and 3, they found:
  • an increase in state III mitochondrial respiration
  • an increase in efficiency of ATP synthesis in brain cortex and cerebellum mitochondria
  • an increased content of complex I, III and V subunits in brain cortex and cerebellum mitochondria
  • increases in complex I and V activity in brain cortex mitochondria
  • a decrease in lipid peroxidation
  • less oxidative stress
  • reduced apoptosis in cerebellum mitochondria
  • increased PGC1alpha and TFAM (which stimulate mitochondrial replication) in the brain cortex
  • Increased mitochondrial fusion (Mfn1,2 were increased, and Drp1 decreased)
  • Increased autophagy markers
It therefore appears that exercise improves mitochondrial health in the brain. A recent review discusses how important healthy mitochondrial functioning is in the brain, and how impairment of mitochondrial fusion dysregulates neuronal function.

In conclusion, take some time off work and go do some exercise.

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