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Keywords:

  • Running;
  • Adult neurogenesis;
  • Neural stem/progenitor cells;
  • Cell cycle kinetics;
  • Proliferation;
  • Differentiation;
  • Pattern separation

Abstract

Physical exercise increases the generation of new neurons in adult neurogenesis. However, only few studies have investigated the beneficial effects of physical exercise in paradigms of impaired neurogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that running fully reverses the deficient adult neurogenesis within the hippocampus and subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle, observed in mice lacking the antiproliferative gene Btg1. We also evaluated for the first time how running influences the cell cycle kinetics of stem and precursor subpopulations of wild-type and Btg1-null mice, using a new method to determine the cell cycle length. Our data show that in wild-type mice running leads to a cell cycle shortening only of NeuroD1-positive progenitor cells. In contrast, in Btg1-null mice, physical exercise fully reactivates the defective hippocampal neurogenesis, by shortening the S-phase length and the overall cell cycle duration of both neural stem (glial fibrillary acidic protein+ and Sox2+) and progenitor (NeuroD1+) cells. These events are sufficient and necessary to reactivate the hyperproliferation observed in Btg1-null early-postnatal mice and to expand the pool of adult neural stem and progenitor cells. Such a sustained increase of cell proliferation in Btg1-null mice after running provides a long-lasting increment of proliferation, differentiation, and production of newborn neurons, which rescues the impaired pattern separation previously identified in Btg1-null mice. This study shows that running positively affects the cell cycle kinetics of specific subpopulations of newly generated neurons and suggests that the plasticity of neural stem cells without cell cycle inhibitory control is reactivated by running, with implications for the long-term modulation of neurogenesis. Stem Cells 2014;32:1968–1982