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Title page for ETD etd-11212011-105343

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Mitchell, Amanda Christine
Author's Email Address acmelle@gmail.com
URN etd-11212011-105343
Title Identifying Physical Activity-Associated Neuroprotective Gene Transcripts
Degree PhD
Department Neuroscience
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Christine Konradi Committee Chair
Aaron Bowman Committee Member
Judy L. Cameron Committee Member
Karoly Mirnics Committee Member
  • physical activity
  • exercise
  • Parkinsons disease
  • MPTP
  • Rhesus monkey
  • gene expression
  • caudate
  • hippocampus
  • motor cortex
  • putamen
  • neuroprotection
Date of Defense 2011-11-11
Availability unrestricted
Mild, moderate, and vigorous physical activity are associated with decreased risks of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and a decreased infarct from stroke. Physical activity increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus and upregulates neurotrophic factors throughout the brain, but it largely has been understudied in motor brain regions related to Parkinson’s disease. We hypothesized that aerobic exercise would be protective against a MPTP lesion in Rhesus monkeys. We used three cohorts of monkeys to study gene expression associated with physical activity and exercise in motor regions of the brain: (1) spontaneously physically active rhesus monkeys, (2) exercised rhesus monkeys, and (3) spontaneously physically active and exercised rhesus monkeys before and after receiving a MPTP lesion. We found that physical activity as measured by accelerometers predicts the size the MPTP lesion, as monkeys with high levels of physical activity were protected from the lesion. Furthermore, the activity-associated neuroprotective gene expression signature involved transcripts associated with chromatin remodeling, neuronal survival, and specifically syntaxin 3. These studies suggest that being physically active is protective against Parkinson’s disease.
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