Effects of Exercise Training on Anxious-Depressive-like Behavior in Alzheimer Rat

Chongyun Wu, Luodan Yang, Yong Li, Y. A.N. Dong, Baocheng Yang, Lorelei Donovan Tucker, Xuemei Zong, Quanguang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose This study aimed to examine the effects of treadmill training on anxious-depressive-like behaviors of transgenic Alzheimer rats in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and provided evidence of exercise in alleviating fear-avoidance behavior deficits. Methods Male 2-month-old TgF344-AD and wild-type rats were divided into wild-type (n = 9), AD (n = 8), and AD + treadmill exercise (Exe) groups (n = 12). After 8 months of exercise, the passive avoidance test, Barnes maze task, novel object recognition test, and object location test were used to measure learning and memory function. The open-field test, elevated plus maze, sucrose preference test, and forced swim test were conducted to determine the anxious-depressive-like behavior of AD rats. Immunofluorescence staining, Western blot analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis, and related assay kits were used to measure inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, amyloid-β production, and tau hyperphosphorylation. Results Behavioral tests revealed that 12-month-old animals did not show any spatial learning and memory deficits but did display anxious-depressive-like behavior (open field, center time: P = 0.008; center entries: P = 0.009; line crossings: P = 0.001). However, long-term exercise significantly inhibited anxious-depressive-like behavior in AD rats (center time: P = 0.016; center entries: P = 0.004; line crossings: P = 0.033). In addition, these animals displayed increased amyloid-β deposition, tau hyperphosphorylation, microgliosis, inflammatory cytokines release, and oxidative damage, which were attenuated significantly by long-term exercise training. Conclusion Long-term exercise training alleviated anxious-depressive-like behavior and improved fear-avoidance behavior in transgenic AD rats, supporting exercise training as an effective approach to prevent anxiety, depression, and fear-avoidance behavior deficits in the early stages of AD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1456-1469
Number of pages14
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Learning And Memory
  • TGF344-AD Rats
  • Treadmill Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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