The potential role of exercise in preventing the age-related spontaneous peripheral neuropathy has not been studied. We examined the effects of long-term aerobic exercise training on lipid peroxidation, Schwann cell (SC) apoptosis and ultrastructural changes in the sciatic nerve of rats during aging. Three groups of 12-week old Wistar rats ran on a treadmill for 6, 9 and 12 months (exercise trained (ET) group, n = 10 each) according to an exercise training program targeted at a speed of 22 m/min (at 7° incline), 60 min/day, 6 days/week. Three corresponding groups of untrained rats were used as the controls (sedentary (SED) group). At the end of each period, sciatic nerve biopsies were performed, and processed for biochemical, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural analyses. The results showed that aging was associated with an increased level of nerve malondialdehyde (MDA, marker of lipid peroxidation) and a higher number of SC apoptosis in SED group. The SED group showed irregular nerve fibers with thin myelin sheaths and areas of myelin-axon detachment. However, the ET group had significantly diminished nerve lipid peroxidation and SC apoptosis. In the ET group, nerve fibers had a thick myelin sheath with frequent folding. These findings suggest that aerobic exercise training protects peripheral nerves by attenuating oxidative reactions, and preserving SCs and myelin sheath from pathologic changes, which occur during normal aging.
- Lipid peroxidation
- Sciatic nerve
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)