How physical exercise protects the brain from stress-induced depression

In a new study in mice, researchers at Karolinska Institutet show that exercise training induces changes in skeletal muscle that can purge the blood of a substance that accumulates during stress, and is harmful to the brain. 

 

Jorge Ruas and Mia Lindskog. Credit: Ulf Sirborn.

Physical exercise has many beneficial effects on human health, including the protection from stress-induced depression. However, until now the mechanisms that mediate this protective effect have been unknown. In a new study in mice, researchers at Karolinska Institutet show that exercise training induces changes in skeletal muscle that can purge the blood of a substance that accumulates during stress, and is harmful to the brain. The study is being published in the prestigious journalCell.         
“In neurobiological terms, we actually still don't know what depression is. Our study represents another piece in the puzzle, since we provide an explanation for the protective biochemical changes induced by physical exercise that prevent the brain from being damaged during stress,” says

Jorge Ruas, PhD, Principal Investigator  

By Katarina Sternudd, KI