Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and c-Fos induction during escalation of voluntary wheel running in C57BL/6J mice

Peter J. Clark, Rachel A. Kohman, Daniel S. Miller, Tushar K. Bhattacharya, Erik H. Haferkamp, Justin S. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voluntary wheel running activates dentate gyrus granule neurons and increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Average daily running distance typically increases over a period of 3 weeks in rodents. Whether neurogenesis and cell activation are greater at the peak of running as compared to the initial escalation period is not known. Therefore, adult C57BL/6J male mice received 5 days of BrdU injections, at the same age, to label dividing cells during the onset of wheel access or after 21 days during peak levels of running or in sedentary conditions. Mice were sampled either 24. h or 25 days after the last BrdU injection to measure cell proliferation and survival, respectively. Immunohistochemistry was performed on brain sections to identify the numbers of proliferating BrdU-labeled cells, and new neurons (BrdU/NeuN co-labeled) in the dentate gyrus. Ki67 was used as an additional mitotic marker. The induction of c-Fos was used to identify neurons activated from running. Mice ran approximately half as far during the first 5 days as compared to after 21 days. Running increased Ki67 cells at the onset but after 21 days levels were similar to sedentary. Numbers of BrdU cells were similar in all groups 24. h after the final injection. However, after 25 days, running approximately doubled the survival of new neurons born either at the onset or peak of running. These changes co-varied with c-Fos expression. We conclude that sustained running maintains a stable rate of neurogenesis above sedentary via activity-dependent increases in differentiation and survival, not proliferation, of progenitor cells in the C57BL/6J model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-252
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Adult hippocampal neurogenesis
  • C-Fos
  • C57BL/6J
  • Exercise
  • Granule cell activation
  • Wheel running

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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