The effects of voluntary exercise on adult hippocampal neurogenesis and BDNF levels in a rodent model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders




Boehme, Fanny

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Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is detrimental to the developing nervous system of the unborn offspring. The hippocampus, one of the two brain regions where neurogenesis persists into adulthood, is particularly sensitive to the teratogenic effects of alcohol. The present study examined the effects of alcohol exposure throughout all three trimester equivalents on the stages of adult neurogenesis. Prenatal and early postnatal alcohol exposure (PPAE) altered cell proliferation in adult but not adolescent animals and increased early neuronal differentiation without affecting cell survival in both age groups. The levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were not affected by PPAE in the dentate gyrus but were significantly decreased in the Cornu ammonis region of the hippocampus. These results might explain the functional deficits seen in this hippocampal sub-region. This study identified that voluntary wheel running increased cell proliferation, differentiation and survival as well as BDNF expression in both PPAE and control animals.



Fetal alcohol syndrome, Hippocampus, Brain