Running increases cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the adult mouse dentate gyrus

Running increases cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the adult mouse dentate gyrus

Nature Neuroscience 2, 266 – 270 (1999)
doi:10.1038/6368

Henriette van Praag1, Gerd Kempermann1, 2 & Fred H. Gage1

1 Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA

2 Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany
Correspondence should be addressed to Fred H. Gage fgage@salk.edu

Photomicrographs of BrdU-positive cells

Abstract

Exposure to an enriched environment increases neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of adult rodents. Environmental enrichment, however, typically consists of many components, such as expanded learning opportunities, increased social interaction, more physical activity and larger housing. We attempted to separate components by assigning adult mice to various conditions: water-maze learning (learner), swim-time-yoked control (swimmer), voluntary wheel running (runner), and enriched (enriched) and standard housing (control) groups. Neither maze training nor yoked swimming had any effect on bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cell number. However, running doubled the number of surviving newborn cells, in amounts similar to enrichment conditions. Our findings demonstrate that voluntary exercise is sufficient for enhanced neurogenesis in the adult mouse dentate gyrus.

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