Influence of chronic moderate sleep restriction and exercise training on anxiety, spatial memory, and associated neurobiological measures in mice

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Sleep deprivation can have deleterious effects on cognitive function and mental health. Moderate exercise training has myriad beneficial effects on cognition and mental health. However, physiological and behavioral effects of chronic moderate sleep restriction and its interaction with common activities, such as moderate exercise training, have received little investigation. The aims of this study were to examine the effects of chronic moderate sleep restriction and moderate exercise training on anxiety-related behavior, spatial memory, and neurobiological correlates in mice. Male mice were randomized to one of four 11-week treatments in a 2 [sleep restriction (˜4 h loss/day) vs. ad libitum sleep] × 2 [exercise (1 h/day/6 d/wk) vs. sedentary activity] experimental design. Anxiety-related behavior was assessed with the elevated-plus maze, and spatial learning and memory were assessed with the Morris water maze. Chronic moderate sleep restriction did not alter anxiety-related behavior, but exercise training significantly attenuated anxiety-related behavior. Spatial learning and recall, hippocampal cell activity (i.e., number of c-Fos positive cells), and brain derived neurotrophic factor were significantly lower after chronic moderate sleep restriction, but higher after exercise training. Further, the benefit of exercise training for some memory variables was evident under normal sleep, but not chronic moderate sleep restriction conditions. These data indicate clear detrimental effects of chronic moderate sleep restriction on spatial memory and that the benefits of exercise training were impaired after chronic moderate sleep restriction.

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