Research Reports - Late exercise reduces neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction after traumatic brain injury

Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jan 8

Piao CS, Stoica BA, Wu J, Sabirzhanov B, Zhao Z, Cabatbat R, Loane DJ, Faden AI

Delayed secondary biochemical and cellular changes after traumatic brain injury
continue for months to years, and are associated with chronic neuroinflammation
and progressive neurodegeneration. Physical activity can reduce inflammation and
facilitate recovery after brain injury. Here, we investigated the time-dependent
effects, and underlying mechanisms of post-traumatic exercise initiation on
outcome after moderate traumatic brain injury using a well-characterized mouse
controlled cortical impact model. Late exercise initiation beginning at 5weeks
after trauma, but not early initiation of exercise at 1week, significantly
reduced working and retention memory impairment at 3months, and decreased lesion
volume compared to non-exercise injury controls. Cognitive recovery was
associated with attenuation of classical inflammatory pathways, activation of
alternative inflammatory responses and enhancement of neurogenesis. In contrast,
early initiation of exercise failed to alter behavioral recovery or lesion size,
while increasing the neurotoxic pro-inflammatory responses. These data underscore
the critical importance of timing of exercise initiation after trauma and its
relation to neuroinflammation, and challenge the widely held view that effective
neuroprotection requires early intervention.

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