Candidate Review:

Neuroprotection by Physical Activity

Amanda C Mitchell

Neuroscience Graduate Program, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, U1205 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
Correspondence e-mail:

Abstract | Full Text | PDF

Abstract | Physical activity is neuroprotective, lowering the risk of neurological diseases, increasing overall brain health, and leading to specific gene expression changes throughout the brain. In particular it upregulates growth factors, immediate early genes, immune genes, synaptic trafficking genes, neurotransmitter systems, and activates the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and protein kinase B (PKB/AKT) signal transduction pathways. The beneficial effects of physical activity are supported in animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat and bilateral 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse PD models show behavioral and biochemical sparing in the striatum after forced limb use, and forced treadmill running.