Neuroprotective Effects of Exercise on the Morphology of Somatic Motoneurons Following the Death of Neighboring Motoneurons.
Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2019 Jul 9:1545968319860485. Epub 2019 Jul 9. PMID: 31286830
. Motoneuron loss is a severe medical problem that can result in loss of motor control and eventually death. We have previously demonstrated that partial motoneuron loss can result in dendritic atrophy and functional deficits in nearby surviving motoneurons, and that treatment with androgens can be neuroprotective against this dendritic atrophy. Exercise has also been shown to be protective following a variety of neural injury models and, in some cases, is dependent on androgen action.. In this study, we explored whether exercise shows the same neuroprotective effect on induced dendritic atrophy as that seen with androgen treatment.. Motoneurons innervating the vastus medialis muscles of adult male rats were selectively killed by intramuscular injection of cholera toxin-conjugated saporin. Following saporin injections, some animals were allowed free access to a running wheel attached to their home cages. Four weeks later, motoneurons innervating the ipsilateral vastus lateralis muscle were labeled with cholera toxin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase, and dendritic arbors were reconstructed in 3 dimensions.. Dendritic arbor lengths of animals allowed to exercise were significantly longer than those not allowed to exercise.. These findings indicate that exercise following neural injury exerts a protective effect on motoneuron dendrites comparable to that seen with exogenous androgen treatment.