Prenatal exposure to maternal voluntary exercise during pregnancy provides protection against mild chronic postnatal hypoxia in rat offspring
Postnatal hypoxia is a main cause of neuronal damage in newborn. However, our understanding of the possible preventive or therapeutic methods to reduce the harmful effects of hypoxia is still primary. Pregnant rats were provided with running wheels during their pregnancy. On PND4 (postnatal day 4)to PND8, the rat pups were exposed to postnatal chronic hypoxia (11% O-2, 89% N-2) in an air-tight plastic chamber for a period of six hours per day. The number of neurons and also angiogenesis in hippocampus were studied. Postnatal exposure to mild hypoxia decreased the number of the neurons in all studied regions of the hippocampus CM, CA3(cornu ammonis), DG(dentate gyrus) and SUB(cubiculum) in rat pups. In other words the number of the neurons in rat pups born from voluntary exercise group was not significantly less than control group in CA1, CA3 and DG regions. So maternal Voluntary exercise during pregnancy increases the blood vessel density in the DG region of the hippocampus of the rat pups. In this study for the first time we provide evidences that show the protective effect of maternal-voluntary-exercise during pregnancy on rat offspring against postnatal hypoxia. We revealed that maternal exercise during pregnancy increases the hippocampal neuron number and angiogenesis in offspring.