Exercise and Neurogenesis

The Christie lab has a main focus in studying the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Exercise has previously been shown to enhance adult hippocampal neurogenesis in rats which increases learning and memory performance. We study these changes in neurogenesis as well as neuroadaptive and neuroprotective processes and the ways in which they are mediated. For example, in one study we employed immunohistochemical techniques to investigate the antidepressant effects of exercise and the role adiponectin (a hormone) may play a role in promoting hippocampal neurogenesis (view publication here: S. Yau et al. 2014). 

Behavioural Paradigm 

We use animal models of several different neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases to see how physical exercise may lead to cognitive improvement. We also study the ageing brain to investigate processes that contribute to the preservation of neurogenesis. The animals used in these studies undergo an exercise routine on running wheels for varying lengths of time, which allows us to figure out, for example, how long an animal needs to exercise in order for the researcher to see a beneficial effect on hippocampal neurogenesis. Once the subjects have completed their exercise routine, students and post docs in the Christie lab use a variety of techniques to investigate changes in learning, memory and how well neurons in the brain communicate with each other.

Want to learn more?

Check out our latest publications to learn more about the work being done in the Christie laboratory related to exercise.