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How does exercise benefit the brain?

05/15/2024

New research published in Aging Cell provides insights into how exercise may help to prevent or slow cognitive decline during aging.

For the study, investigators assessed the expression of genes in individual cells in the brains of mice. The team found that exercise has a significant impact on gene expression in microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system that support brain function. Specifically, the group found that exercise reverts the gene expression patterns of aged microglia to patterns seen in young microglia.

Treatments that depleted microglia revealed that these cells are required for the stimulatory effects of exercise on the formation of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus, a region involved in memory, learning, and emotion.

The scientists also found that allowing mice access to a running wheel prevented and/or reduced the presence of T cells in the hippocampus during aging. These immune cells are not typically found in the brain during youth, but they increase with age.

“We were both surprised and excited about the extent to which physical activity rejuvenates and transforms the composition of immune cells within the brain, in particular the way in which it was able to reverse the negative impacts of aging,” said co–corresponding author Jana Vukovic, PhD, of The University of Queensland, in Australia. “It highlights the importance of normalizing and facilitating access to tailored exercise programs. Our findings should help different industries to design interventions for elderly individuals who are looking to maintain or improve both their physical and mental capabilities.”

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acel.14172


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The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact: Sara Henning-Stout, newsroom@wiley.com.

About the Journal
Aging Cell is an open access geroscience journal publishing research addressing the biology of aging. The journal welcomes research that reports the mechanistic, molecular, and cellular aspects of the aging process, as well as the links between aging and age-related disease.Aging Cell is an open access geroscience journal publishing research addressing the biology of aging. The journal welcomes research that reports the mechanistic, molecular, and cellular aspects of the aging process, as well as the links between aging and age-related disease.

About Wiley
Wiley is a knowledge company and a global leader in research, publishing, and knowledge solutions. Dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge, Wiley serves the world’s researchers, learners, innovators, and leaders, helping them achieve their goals and solve the world's most important challenges. For more than two centuries, Wiley has been delivering on its timeless mission to unlock human potential. Visit us at Wiley.com. Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

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