The Influence of Exercise on Stress and Depression
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in English; abstract also in Chinese.
There is evidence in human subjects that aerobic physical exercise boosts the immune system, influences stress hormone levels and depressive feelings (Brenner, Shek, Zamecnik, & Shephard, 1998). Moderate physical exercise can prevent detrimental effects of stress and depression as a result of the interaction between the neuroendocrine system and the immune system post aerobic exercise (Fleshner, 2000). In this study, the contribution of intensity and duration of exercise to modulation of stress responses were assessed. Physical exercise modulation of the response to a stressful threatening event was examined in rats at the behavioral and biochemical levels. At the behavioral level, the following parameters were measured: anxiety (Elevated Plus Maze, Startle reflex response measures), depression (Learned helplessness) exploratory orientation (Open field) and of cognitive abilities (Spatial learning and memory, active avoidance). At the biochemical level, alterations in the basal concentrations of neurosteroids and in responsiveness to stress were measured.
In response to acute stress there is a rapid increase in neurosteroids (Vllee, Rivera, Koob, Purdy, & Fitzgerald, 2000). The neurosteroid allopregnanolone has been shown to be a potent ligand of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-A receptors. It enhances its receptor-mediated inhibitory effects in the rat (Guo et al., 1995; Pericic, Svob, Jazvinscak, & Mirkovic, 2000). The neurosteroid 3 alpha, 5 alpha THP acts like an antidepressant drug. It interacts with the central delta receptor, which has antidepressant-like effects (Khisti, Chopde, & Jain, 2000; Reddy, Kaur, & Kulkani, 1998).
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