Effects of mild running on substantia nigra during early neurodegeneration

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Moderate physical exercise acts at molecular and behavioural levels, such as interfering in neuroplasticity, cell death, neurogenesis, cognition and motor functions. Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyse the cellular effects of moderate treadmill running upon substantia nigra during early neurodegeneration. Aged male Lewis rats (9-month-old) were exposed to rotenone 1mg/kg/day (8weeks) and 6weeks of moderate treadmill running, beginning 4weeks after rotenone exposure. Substantia nigra was extracted and submitted to proteasome and antioxidant enzymes activities, hydrogen peroxide levels and Western blot to evaluate tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), alpha-synuclein, Tom-20, PINK1, TrkB, SLP1, CRMP-2, Rab-27b, LC3II and Beclin-1 level. It was demonstrated that moderate treadmill running, practiced during early neurodegeneration, prevented the increase of alpha-synuclein and maintained the levels of TH unaltered in substantia nigra of aged rats. Physical exercise also stimulated autophagy and prevented impairment of mitophagy, but decreased proteasome activity in rotenone-exposed aged rats. Physical activity also prevented H2O2 increase during early neurodegeneration, although the involved mechanism remains to be elucidated. TrkB levels and its anterograde trafficking seem not to be influenced by moderate treadmill running. In conclusion, moderate physical training could prevent early neurodegeneration in substantia nigra through the improvement of autophagy and mitophagy.
Almeida MF., Silva CM., Chaves RS., Lima NC.R., Almeida RS., Melo KP., et al. Effects of mild running on substantia nigra during early neurodegeneration. J. Sports Sci. 2018;36(12):1363-70. doi:10.1080/02640414.2017.1378494.
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