Inadequate sleep is prevalent in modern societies and is known to profoundly impair cognitive function. We examined the impact of 4weeks of regular treadmill exercise on sleep deprivation induced spatial learning and memory, synaptic plasticity and related signaling molecules in area CA1 of the rat hippocampus. Rats were exercised on a treadmill and subsequently sleep-deprived for 24h using the modified multiple platform technique. Testing of learning and short-term memory performance in the radial arm water maze showed that although sedentary sleep deprived rats were severely impaired, exercised sleep deprived rats’ performance was normal. Extracellular recording from area CA1 of anesthetized rats revealed that early phase LTP (E-LTP) was markedly impaired in the sedentary sleep deprived animals, but was normal in the exercised sleep deprived group. Additionally, immunoblot analysis of CA1 area before (basal) and after expression of E-LTP indicated that the significant down-regulation of the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and phosphorylated calcium-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (P-CaMKII) levels in sleep deprived animals was prevented by the regular exercise regimen. The results suggest that the regular exercise protocol prevents the sleep deprivation induced impairments in short-term memory and E-LTP by preventing deleterious changes in the basal and post-stimulation levels of P-CaMKII and BDNF associated with sleep deprivation.

Zagaar M, Alhaider I, Dao A, Levine A, Alkarawi A, Alzubaidy M, Alkadhi K.

Neurobiol Dis. 2011 Dec 30.

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