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Voluntary exercise induces neurogenesis in the hypothalamus and ependymal lining of the third ventricle

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In the adult hypothalamus and ependymal lining of the third ventricle, tanycytes function as multipotential progenitor cells that enable continuous neurogenesis, suggesting that tanycytes may be able to mediate the restoration of homeostatic function after stroke. Voluntary wheel running has been shown to alter neurochemistry and neuronal function and to increase neurogenesis in rodents. In the present study, we found that voluntary exercise improved the survival rate and energy balance of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP/Kpo). We also investigated the effect of exercise on the proliferation and differentiation of hypothalamic cells using immunoreactivity for tanycytes and neural markers. The proliferation of elongated cells, which may be the tanycytes, was enhanced in exercising SHRSP compared to sedentary rats before and after stroke. In addition, the proliferation of cells was correlated with the induction of fibroblast growth factor-2 in the subependymal cells of the third ventricle and in the cerebrospinal fluid. Some of the newborn cells of exercising SHRSP showed differentiation into mature neurons after stroke. Our results suggest that voluntary exercise correlates with hypothalamic neurogenesis, leading to recovery of homeostatic functions in the adult brain after stroke.

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This work was supported in part by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grants 20500636, 23500866, 26350918) (A.N.), (Grant 24590337) (H.T.), (Grant 2439006115) (M.N.); from the Scientific Research from Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (Grant 09156274) (M.N.); MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research foundation at Private Universities from Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Grant S1411037) (H.T.). The authors thank Mrs. Yasumitsu Akahoshi and Yoshitaka Horiuchi for technical assistance.

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None of the authors has any financial conflict of interest related to this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hideo Takahashi.

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Niwa, A., Nishibori, M., Hamasaki, S. et al. Voluntary exercise induces neurogenesis in the hypothalamus and ependymal lining of the third ventricle. Brain Struct Funct 221, 1653–1666 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-015-0995-x

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  • Hypothalamus
  • Neurogenesis
  • Stroke
  • Stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats
  • Tanycytes
  • Voluntary exercise