Introduction: Cerebral ischemia and reperfusion causes physiological and biochemical changes in the neuronal cells that will eventually lead to cell damage. Evidence indicates that exercise reduces the ischemia and reperfusion-induced brain damages in animal models of stroke. In the present study, the effect of exercise preconditioning on brain edema and neurological movement disorders following the cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in rats was investigated.
Methods: Twenty-one adult male wistar rats (weighing 260-300 g) were randomly divided into three groups: sham operated, exercise plus ischemia, and ischemia group (7 rats per group). The rats in exercise group were trained to run on a treadmill 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Transient focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion were induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 60 minutes, followed by reperfusion for 23 hours. After 24 hours ischemia, movement disorders were tested by a special neurological examination. Also, cerebral edema was assessed by determining the brain water content.
Results: The results showed that pre-ischemic exercise significantly reduced brain edema (P<0.05). In addition, exercise preconditioning decreased the neurological movement disorders caused by brain ischemia and reperfusion (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Preconditioning by exercise had neuroprotective effects against brain ischemia and reperfusion-induced edema and movement disorders. Thus, it could be considered as a usefulstrategy for prevention of ischemic injuries, especially in people at risk.