Lack of exercise, via hindlimb suspension, impedes endogenous neurogenesis

T. Yasuhara, K. Hara, M. Maki, N. Matsukawa, H. Fujino, I. Date, C. V. Borlongan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Bedridden patients who receive good physical rehabilitation are able to exhibit clinical improvement. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that exercise increases endogenous neurogenesis and may even protect against central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Here, we explored the effects of lack of exercise on neurogenesis in rats by employing a routine hindlimb suspension (HS) model over a 2-week period, which consists of elevating their tails, thereby raising their hindlimbs above the ground and unloading the weights in these extremities. In addition, the effects of exercise and recovery time with normal caging after HS were also explored. BrdU (50 mg/kg, i.p.) was injected every 8 h over the last 4 days of each paradigm to label proliferative cells. Immunohistochemical results revealed that HS significantly reduced the number of BrdU/Doublecortin double-positive cells in the subventricular zone and dentate gyrus. Exercise and recovery time significantly improved atrophy of the soleus muscle, but did not attenuate the HS-induced decrement in BrdU/Dcx-positive cells. A separate cohort of animals was exposed to the same HS paradigm and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of neurotrophic factors was performed on brain tissue samples harvested at the end of the HS period, as well as plasma samples from all animals. ELISA results revealed that HS reduced the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hippocampus and vascular endothelial growth factor plasma levels. This study revealed that lack of exercise reduced neurogenesis with downregulation of neurotrophic factors. The use of the HS model in conjunction with CNS disease models should further elucidate the role of exercise in neurogenesis and neurotrophic factors in neurologic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 12 2007


  • cell proliferation
  • dentate gyrus
  • neurotrophic factors
  • physical activity
  • subventricular zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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