We have reported that C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice differ in spatial learning performance and associated hippocampal protein kinase C (PKC) activity (Upchurch and Wehner, 1989, Behav Neurosci 103:1251–1258; Wehner et al., 1990, Brain Res 523:181–187) and that physical activity enhances spatial learning with related alterations in protein kinase C (PKC) (Fordyee and Wehner, 1993b, Brain Res 619:111–119). To assess whether physical activity induces alterations in gene expression that may underlie these changes in PKC and learning performance, we examined the effect of physical activity on expression of zif268, a transcription regulatory factor linked to stimulus‐induced neuronal plasticity. C57 and DBA mice, 3 months of age, were subjected to acute (one bout) or chronic (8 weeks) physical activity. The mice were then tested on the Morris water maze task for 6 days with subsequent analysis of PKC activity and zif268 mRNA expression. Control DBA mice, which have poor hippocampal‐specific learning performance compared to C57 mice (Wehner et al., 1990, Brain Res 523:181–187; Fordyce and Wehner, 1993b, Brain Res 619:111–119; Paylor et al., 1993, Psychobiology 27:11–26), displayed lower basal levels of zif268 mRNA (P <.05). As observed previously, chronic physical activity produced an enhancement in spatial learning performance accompanied by alterations in hippocampal PKC activity in both strains of mice (P <.05). In addition, the present investigation demonstrated that acute physical increased mRNA levels of zif268 in hippocampal regions CA1, CA3 and overlying cortex (P <.005) of both C57 and DBA mice. Chronic physical activity suppressed the basal expression of zif268 in C57 mice in CA1 and overlying cortex below control levels. These findings suggest that genetic and activity‐dependent regulation of zif268 may influence learning performance. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- physical activity or running exercise
- protein kinase C (PKC)
- transcription factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience