Interferon-alpha-induced deficits in novel object recognition are rescued by chronic exercise

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Fahey, B. ; Barlow, S. ; Day, J. S. ; O'Mara, S. M. (2008)

The anti-viral drug interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) is widely-known to induce psychiatric and cognitive effects in patients. Previous work has shown that physical exercise can have a positive effect against brain insult. We investigated the effects of a clinically-comparable treatment regime of IFN-alpha on cognitive function in male Wistar rats and assessed the impact of chronic treadmill running on the deficits generated by IFN-alpha. We found that IFN-alpha induced significant impairments in performance on both spatial novelty and object novelty recognition. Chronic forced exercise did not protect against IFN-alpha-induced learning deficits in reactivity to spatial change, but did restore the capacity for novel object recognition in IFN-alpha-treated animals.
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