Study design: This study was designed to investigate the effects of oxidant and antioxidant treatment, as well as regular exercise, on neurotrophin levels in the spinal cord of rats. Objectives: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a role in neurodegenerative diseases, but ROS at moderate levels could stimulate biochemical processes through redox-sensitive transcription. Methods: Exercised or sedentary animals were injected subcutaneously with hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2), N-tert butyl-α-phenyl nitrone (PBN) or saline for the last 2 weeks of a 10-week experimental period to challenge redox balance. Free radical (FR) concentration was evaluated in the spinal cord by electron spin resonance, protein carbonyls, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) levels and the mRNA expression of BDNF receptor and tyrosine kinase receptor B (TrKB). Setting: Research Institute of Sport Science, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. Results: Exercise or PBN decreased the concentration of FR, whereas the carbonyl content did not change. BDNF was significantly decreased in exercised sham and sedentary PBN-treated groups, and its content correlated with the level of FR. GDNF was significantly increased in sedentary H 2 O 2 -treated groups. No differences were observed in TrkB mRNA expression among groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that regular exercise alone and PBN in sedentary animals can successfully decrease FR levels in the spinal cord. Redox alteration seems to affect the levels of GDNF and BDNF, which might have clinical consequences, as neurotrophins play an important role in cellular resistance and regeneration.
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