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The dopaminergic pathway, comprising projections from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens, constitutes the core of the brain reward system. Insufficient food reward caused by dopamine signalling dysfunction in the nucleus accumbens is an important contributor to obesity and may be associated with insulin signalling. Aerobic exercise has a positive effect both on preventing and treating obesity. In addition, physical exercise is important in striatal dopamine homeostasis and improves insulin sensitivity in the peripheral and central nervous system. Therefore, we hypothesized that aerobic exercise may increase dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens through insulin signalling, thus improving food reward in obesity. In the present study, we used a rat model of obesity, induced by high fat diet. Obese rats exhibited lower basic dopamine concentration in the nucleus accumbens, induced by eating and/or extracellular insulin; attenuated insulin signalling; and increased fat preference. Interestingly, an 8-week aerobic exercise reversed these symptoms. In addition, we noted a significant increase in insulin Akt/GSK3-β signal transduction in the nucleus accumbens. These data demonstrate that aerobic exercise promotes dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens through insulin signal transduction, which may be constitute an important neurobiological mechanism of exercise against obesity.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS chemical neuroscience
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The exercise capacity of an individual as measured by endurance (maximal exercise duration and/or maximal attained work load) during an EXERCISE TEST.
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