Although chemotherapy increases the survival rate of patients with various cancers, such treatment can induce acute or long-term cognitive dysfunction a phenomenon known as post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment (PCCI) or “chemobrain.” Exercise is known to positively affect brain function. Thus, the present study aimed to determine whether symptoms of chemobrain and disruptions in the neuroplasticity and functioning of hippocampal mitochondria can be prevented or relieved by exercise. Wistar rats were separated into the following groups: control, control plus exercise, chemobrain, and chemobrain plus exercise. For chemobrain induction, 2 mg/kg of doxorubicin (DOX) a widely utilized chemotherapeutic agent among patients with breast cancer was dissolved in saline and directly injected to the abdomen once every 4 weeks. The exercise groups were subjected to low-intensity treadmill, 6 days per week for 4 weeks. The Morris water maze and step-down avoidance tests were conducted to evaluate cognitive function, while neuroplasticity and mitochondrial function were assessed in the hippocampus and dentate gyrus. Decreased cognitive function were observed in the chemobrain group, along with decreases in levels of neurogenesis, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), Ca2+ retention in hippocampus. Rats of the chemobrain group also exhibited an increase in apoptosis, H2O2 emission and permeability transition pore by hippocampal mitochondria. However, exercise attenuated impairments in cognitive function, neuroplasticity, and mitochondrial function induced by DOX treatment. Therefore, the findings of the present study indicate that low-intensity exercise may assist in preventing cognitive dysfunction during or after chemotherapy in patients with various cancers, including breast cancer.
Neuropharmacology – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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