Exercise reduces activation of microglia isolated from hippocampus and brain of aged mice

Rachel A. Kohman, Tushar K. Bhattacharya, Elzbieta Wojcik, Justin S. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aging is associated with low-grade neuroinflammation that includes basal increases in proinflammatory cytokines and expression of inflammatory markers on microglia. Exercise can reduce neuroinflammation following infection in aged animals, but whether exercise modulates basal changes in microglia activation is unknown. Therefore, we evaluated changes in basal microglia activation in cells isolated from the hippocampus and remaining brain following running-wheel access.Methods: Adult (4 months) and aged (22 months) male and female BALB/c mice were housed with or without running wheels for 10 weeks. Microglia were isolated from the hippocampus or remaining brain. Flow cytometry was used to determine microglia (CD11b+ and CD45low) that co-labeled with CD86, CD206, and MHC II. Results: Aged mice showed a greater proportion of CD86 and MHC II positive microglia. In aged females, access to a running wheel decreased proportion of CD86+ and MHC II+ microglia in the hippocampus whereas aged males in the running group showed a decrease in the proportion of CD86+ microglia in the brain and an increase in the proportion of MHC II+ microglia in hippocampus and brain.Conclusion: Overall, these data indicate that running-wheel access modulates microglia activation, but these effects vary by age, sex, and brain region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number885
JournalJournal of neuroinflammation
StatePublished - Sep 18 2013


  • Aging
  • CD206
  • CD86
  • Exercise
  • Hippocampus
  • MHC II
  • Microglia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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