The effects of exercise on diabetic retinopathy and cognitive dysfunction Open Access

Gogniat, Marissa Ann (2015)

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Exercise is neuroprotective and neuroregenerative to neuronal tissues. Previously, we have shown that treadmill exercise preserves retinal function in animals that undergo light-induced retinal degeneration, and that the protective effects of exercise were mediated by brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (Lawson et al., 2014). The purpose of the current study was to determine whether visual and cognitive deficits occurred with early stage diabetes, and whether these deficits could be ameliorated with exercise through a BDNF-mediated mechanism. Wild-type Long Evans rats were injected with streptozotocin (STZ; 100 mg/kg) to induce hyperglycemia (glucose >250 mg/dL), and were compared to non-diabetic controls. Separate cohorts were exercised for 30min on treadmills for 5 days/wk for 8 weeks at either 0 m/min for Inactive groups or 15m/min for Active groups. To evaluate the contributions of BDNF, half of the diabetic rats were injected with a TrkB receptor antagonist, ANA-12, or vehicle 2.5 hours before exercise. Using optokinetic tracking, we found that visual acuity and contrast sensitivity were significantly decreased in diabetic rats and that exercise significantly preserved contrast sensitivity. Similarly, electroretinography using flicker stimuli showed significant delays in diabetic rats that were ameliorated with treadmill running. Furthermore, these protective effects of exercise on visual and retinal function were mediated by BDNF. Cognitive function assessed with a y-maze showed significant deficits with diabetes, while two types of object recognition memory showed no deficiencies. Treadmill running did not benefit cognitive deficits. Exercise is a non-invasive, low cost intervention that may provide benefit to the visual function of diabetic patients.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction...1

II. Methods...3

III. Results...8

IV. Discussion...11

V. Figure 1...16

VI. Figure 2...17

VII. Figure 3...18

VIII. Figure 4...19

IX. Figure 5...20

X. Figure 6...21

XI. References...22

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