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Aerobic activity improves spatial learning and motor activity in aged rats

Author(s): Nassour Ahmadi | Aslankhani Mohammad Ali | Nasser Naghdi

Journal: Physiology and Pharmacology
ISSN 1735-0581

Volume: 15;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 527;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Key words: rat | physical activity | motor activity | spatial memory | cognitive function | aging

Aging has negative effects on motor and cognitive functions, therefore finding appropriate strategies to prevent the decline of these functions is necessary. It seems that cardiovascular fitness obtained by aerobic activity is a physiological mediator that explains the relationship between physical activity and improved cognitive performance. The aim of this research was to assess the effects of aerobic activity on spatial learning and motor activity in aged rats. Methods: 24 Albino Wistar healthy aged male rats were randomly divided into control (weight: 458±34 grams) and aerobic activity (weight: 443±40 grams) groups. Aerobic activity group ran 8 weeks on treadmill according to Brooks et al. (1984) protocol. After the end of physical activity period, Morris Water Maze and open-field tests were performed to assess spatial learning and motor function, respectively. Latency and distance moved to find platform were used as criteria of spatial learning, while distance moved, mobility duration and movement speed were used as criteria of motor function. Results: In spatial learning, aerobic activity group performed better in acquisition (distance moved (F1,22=8.59, p=0.004) and latency time (F1,22=7.22, p=0.007)), probe (time spent in target quadrant (t22=2.24, p=0.018)), and retrieval tests (distance moved (t22=2.823, p=0.005) and latency time (t22=3.73, p=0.001)) compared to the control group. Aerobic activity group performed also better in all indices of motor function including distance moved (t22=2.83, p=0.005), mobility duration (t22=2.15, p=0.03), and movement speed (t22=2.52, p=0.01) compared to control group. Conclusion: Results showed that aerobic activity improves spatial learning and motor function in aged rats.
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