Electrically stimulated hind limb muscle contractions increase adult hippocampal astrogliogenesis but not neurogenesis or behavioral performance in male C57BL/6J mice

Jennie C. Gardner, Svyatoslav V. Dvoretskiy, Yanyu Yang, Sanjana Venkataraman, Dominica A. Lange, Shiping Li, Alexandria L. Boppart, Noah Kim, Catarina Rendeiro, Marni D. Boppart, Justin S. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining cognitive health throughout life. Recent evidence suggests muscle contractions during exercise release factors into the blood which cross into the brain and stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis. However, no study has tested whether muscle contractions alone are sufficient to increase adult hippocampal neurogenesis and improve behavioral performance. Adult male, C57BL/6J mice were anesthetized and exposed to bilateral hind limb muscle contractions (both concentric and eccentric) via electrical stimulation (e-stim) of the sciatic nerve twice a week for 8 weeks. Each session lasted approximately 20 min and consisted of a total of 40 muscle contractions. The control group was treated similarly except without e-stim (sham). Acute neuronal activation of the dentate gyrus (DG) using cFos immunohistochemistry was measured as a negative control to confirm that the muscle contractions did not activate the hippocampus, and in agreement, no DG activation was observed. Relative to sham, e-stim training increased DG volume by approximately 10% and astrogliogenesis by 75%, but no difference in neurogenesis was detected and no improvement in behavioral performance was observed. E-stim also increased astrogliogenesis in CA1/CA2 hippocampal subfields but not in the cortex. Results demonstrate that muscle contractions alone, in absence of DG activation, are sufficient to increase adult hippocampal astrogliogenesis, but not neurogenesis or behavioral performance in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19319
JournalScientific reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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