There are a considerable number of studies concerning the behavioral effects of physical exercise on the epileptic brain; however, the intracellular signaling mechanisms involved remain unclear. We investigated the effects of aerobic exercise on hippocampal levels of brain‐derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), expression of its receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), and activation of intracellular proteins related to BDNF‐TrkB signaling in male Wistar rats with pilocarpine‐induced epilepsy. Thirty days after the first spontaneous seizure, rats from the exercise group undertook a 30‐day physical exercise program on the treadmill. Thereafter, BDNF levels, expression of TrkB, and activation of intracellular proteins were quantified by enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay, Western blotting, and multiplex assay, respectively. Statistical analyses were conducted using nonparametric tests. Rats with epilepsy presented decreased BDNF levels compared with control rats. BDNF levels increased significantly in the exercise group compared with the epileptic and control groups. Expression of full‐length and truncated TrkB was increased in rats with epilepsy, and physical exercise restored its expression to control levels. RAC‐alpha serine/threonine‐protein kinase, mammalian target of rapamycin, and extracellular signal‐regulated kinase activation were reduced in rats with epilepsy, and exercise increased activation compared with control and epilepsy groups. Increased cAMP response element binding protein activation was observed in the exercise group compared with the epilepsy group. Our findings indicate that the beneficial effects of exercise in the epileptic brain can be in part related to alterations in the activation of proteins related to the BDNF‐TrkB signaling pathway.
Journal of Neuroscience Research – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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