Effects of long-term voluntary exercise on learning and memory processes: dependency of the task and level of exercise

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Abstract

The effect of long-term voluntary exercise (running wheel) on anxiety-like behaviour (plus maze and open field) and learning and memory processes (object recognition and two-way active avoidance) was examined on Wistar rats. Because major individual differences in running wheel behaviour were observed, the data were analysed considering the exercising animals both as a whole and grouped according to the time spent in the running wheel (low, high, and very-high running). Although some variables related to anxiety-like behaviour seem to reflect an anxiogenic compatible effect, the view of the complete set of variables could be interpreted as an enhancement of defensive and risk assessment behaviours in exercised animals, without major differences depending on the exercise level. Effects on learning and memory processes were dependent on task and level of exercise. Two-way avoidance was not affected either in the acquisition or in the retention session, while the retention of object recognition task was affected. In this latter task, an enhancement in low running subjects and impairment in high and very-high running animals were observed. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume202
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2009

Keywords

  • Anxiety-like behaviour
  • Learning and memory
  • Object recognition
  • Running wheel exercise
  • Two-way active avoidance

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