Long-term exercise treatment reduces oxidative stress in the hippocampus of aging rats

K. Marosi, Z. Bori, N. Hart, L. Sárga, E. Koltai, Z. Radák, C. Nyakas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Exercise can exert beneficial effects on cognitive functions of older subjects and it can also play an important role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. At the same time it is perceivable that limited information is available on the nature of molecular pathways supporting the antioxidant effects of exercise in the brain. In this study 12-month old, middle-aged female Wistar rats were subjected to daily moderate intensity exercise on a rodent treadmill for a period of 15. weeks which covered the early aging period unmasking already some aging-related molecular disturbances. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the amount of protein carbonyls, the levels of antioxidant intracellular enzymes superoxide dismutases (SOD-1, SOD-2) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were determined in the hippocampus. In addition, to identify the molecular pathways that may be involved in ROS metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis, the activation of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the protein level of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α), nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1) and mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA) were measured. Our results revealed a lower level of ROS associated with a reduced amount of protein carbonyls in the hippocampus of physically trained rats compared to sedentary controls. Furthermore, exercise induced an up-regulation of SOD-1 and GPx enzymes, p-AMPK and PGC-1α, that can be related to an improved redox balance in the hippocampus. These results suggest that long-term physical exercise can comprises antioxidant properties and by this way protect neurons against oxidative stress at the early stage of aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 13
Externally publishedYes


  • AMPK
  • Aging
  • Antioxidant defence
  • Exercise
  • Hippocampus
  • PGC-1α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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