Running exercise protects oligodendrocytes in the medial prefrontal cortex in chronic unpredictable stress rat model.
Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 28 ;9(1):322. Epub 2019 Nov 28. PMID: 31780641
Previous postmortem and animal studies have shown decreases in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) volume and the number of glial cells in the PFC of depression. Running exercise has been shown to alleviate depressive symptoms. However, the effects of running exercise on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) volume and oligodendrocytes in the mPFC of depressed patients and animals have not been investigated. To address these issues, adult male rats were subjected to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) for 5 weeks, followed by treadmill running for 6 weeks. Then, the mPFC volume and the mPFC oligodendrocytes were investigated using stereology, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and western blotting. Using a CUS paradigm that allowed for the analysis of anhedonia, we found that running exercise alleviated the deficits in sucrose preference, as well as the decrease in the mPFC volume. Meanwhile, we found that running exercise significantly increased the number of CNPaseoligodendrocytes and Olig2oligodendrocytes, reduced the ratio between Olig2/NG2oligodendrocytes and Olig2oligodendrocytes and increased myelin basic protein (MBP), CNPase and Olig2 protein expression in the mPFC of the CUS rat model. However, running exercise did not change NG2oligodendrocyte number in the mPFC in these rats. These results indicated that running exercise promoted the differentiation of oligodendrocytes and myelin-forming ability in the mPFC in the context of depression. These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of running exercise on mPFC volume and oligodendrocytes in mPFC might be an important structural basis for the antidepressant effects of running exercise.