Exercise Modalities Improve Aversive Memory and Survival Rate in Aged Rats: Role of Hippocampal Epigenetic Modifications

Louisiana Carolina Ferreira de Meireles, Fernando Galvão, Deena M. Walker, Laura Reck Cechinel, Ágnis Iohana de Souza Grefenhagen, Gisele Andrade, Roberta Passos Palazzo, Gisele Agustini Lovatel, Carla Giovanna Basso, Eric J. Nestler, Ionara Rodrigues Siqueira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We aimed to investigate the effects of aging and different exercise modalities on aversive memory and epigenetic landscapes at brain-derived neurotrophic factor, cFos, and DNA methyltransferase 3 alpha (Bdnf, cFos, and Dnmt3a, respectively) gene promoters in hippocampus of rats. Specifically, active epigenetic histone markers (H3K9ac, H3K4me3, and H4K8ac) and a repressive mark (H3K9me2) were evaluated. Adult and aged male Wistar rats (2 and 22 months old) were subjected to aerobic, acrobatic, resistance, or combined exercise modalities for 20 min, 3 times a week, during 12 weeks. Aging per se altered histone modifications at the promoters of Bdnf, cFos, and Dnmt3a. All exercise modalities improved both survival rate and aversive memory performance in aged animals (n = 7–10). Exercise altered hippocampal epigenetic marks in an age- and modality-dependent manner (n = 4–5). Aerobic and resistance modalities attenuated age-induced effects on hippocampal Bdnf promoter H3K4me3. Besides, exercise modalities which improved memory performance in aged rats were able to modify H3K9ac or H3K4me3 at the cFos promoter, which could increase gene transcription. Our results highlight biological mechanisms which support the efficacy of all tested exercise modalities attenuating memory deficits induced by aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8408-8419
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Aging
  • Bdnf
  • Dnmt3a
  • Exercise
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone methylation
  • Inhibitory avoidance
  • Rats
  • cFos


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