Long term treadmill exercise performed to chronic social isolated rats regulate anxiety behavior without improving learning

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The type and duration of exposure to stress is an important influence on emotional and cognitive functions. Learning is the adaptive response of the central nervous system that occurs in hippocampus which affects from environmental factors like exercise. In this study, we investigated effects of long term treadmill exercise on learning and behavior on chronic social isolated rat.

Main methods:

Male Wistar rats (n = 32) randomly assigned into four groups: control, exercised, social isolation, social isolation + exercise during postnatal days (PNDs) 21–34. Social isolation protocol was applied during 14 days by placing rat in a cage one by one. Rats were exercised during 5 days, days were chosen randomly for overall 4 weeks (20, 30, 50, 60 min respectively). Finally, learning performance was evaluated by Morris water maze (MWM). Anxiety behavior was evaluated by Open field and elevated plus maze test. At the end of learning and behavior tests, the rats were decapitated to collect blood samples via intracardiac puncture and corticosterone analysis was performed with ELISA method.

Key findings:

Animal weights and water consumption did not change significantly but food intake differed among groups. Corticosterone level did not change between groups. The frequency of entering to the target quadrant increased in exercised rat significantly. However, there was no difference in learning and memory in rats. Treadmill exercise reduced anxiety behavior significantly.


Taken together these findings may point out that, long term treadmill exercise did not change learning and memory but reduced anxiety level of rat without changing corticosterone level.

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