Wnt pathway regulation by long-term moderate exercise in rat hippocampus

S. Bayod, Ilario Menella, S. Sanchez-Roige, J. F. Lalanza, R. M. Escorihuela, A. Camins, M. Pallàs, A. M. Canudas

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49 Citations (Scopus)


An active lifestyle involving regular exercise reduces the deleterious effects of the aging process. At the cerebral level, both synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis are modulated by exercise, although the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are not clearly understood. In the mature nervous system, the canonical Wnt (Wnt/β-catenin) signaling pathway is implicated in neuroprotection and synaptic plasticity. Here, we examined whether the Wnt pathway could be modulated in adult male rat hippocampus by long-term moderate exercise (treadmill running) or enrichment (handling/environmental stimulation). Sedentary animals showed higher protein levels of the Wnt antagonist, Dkk-1, the lowest levels being found in the exercised group. Although there was no evidence of any changes in activation of the LRP6 receptor, the total levels of LRP6 were higher in exercised and enriched animals. Analysis of some of the components implicated in the phosphorylation of β-catenin, which leads ultimately to its proteasomal degradation, revealed higher levels and activation of Axin1 and GSK-3α/β respectively in sedentary animals. However neither different phosphorylated forms nor total β-catenin protein levels differed between the experimental groups. Higher protein levels of Axin2 and the antiapoptotic protein, Bcl-2, were found with exercise and handling, whereas the proapototic, Bax, was unaffected. Thus, our results suggest activation of the Wnt pathway not only with moderate exercise, but also with the handling of the animals. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2014


  • Dkk-1
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-term moderate exercise
  • Wnt
  • β-catenin


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