TSU scientists will know how physical activity restores youthfulness

Research by TSU’s Laboratory of Experimental Physiology of the Institute Research of the Institute of Biology and Biophysics will answer this question about the prospects of rejuvenation. Experiments conducted by physiologists have shown that certain types of training in the laboratory helps animals to improve the cognitive function of their brains and enhance the body's defenses against aging.

- The free-radical theory of aging appeared in the 1960s. It asserts that antioxidants that neutralize free radicals are dominant in the body of a young animal (including humans). With age, the amount of antioxidants decreases, which leads to oxidative stress and the predominance of pro-oxidants, - says Natalya Krivova, Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Physiology. - It was assumed that the introduction of external antioxidants reduces the level of oxidative stress and helps fight the signs of aging - neurodegeneration and other diseases. The pathogenesis is also based on oxidative stress - cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. However, so far we have not managed to stop the pandemic by using antioxidants. Therefore, the search for new approaches is continuing. We decided to test one of the ways experimentally.

In the experimental conditions, researchers placed a rat in a pool designed so that the rat could save itself only by finding the platform hidden underwater. This Morris Labyrinth was designed to test whether animals preserve the ability for spatial learning and working memory.

It was found that in the water maze, not only spatial learning and memory can be safely tested, but also there is an opportunity to rehabilitate these functions - the cognitive function of the brain may improve during exercise. If the direct addition of antioxidants in the blood does not give the expected rejuvenating effect, some kinds of exercise can increase the body's antioxidant defenses from the inside.

It has long been known that certain lifestyle factors (moderate physical activities, calorie restriction, and activation of brain activity) contribute to so-called successful aging and increased life expectancy. But on this issue there is a marked sexual dimorphism: male life expectancy is usually lower than female. This is because the male sex hormone, testosterone, is a powerful pro-oxidant, which means that it promotes oxidative stress in the body.

In 2015, the first phase of research was carried out: scientists compared oxidative stress in the heart, testes, and blood plasma of reproductively experienced and naive rats. It was found that the experienced animals had significantly lower indicators of antioxidant activity in the heart, that is, their hearts were aging faster than those of the naive animals, while there was no difference in oxidative stress in the testes. Studies of the effect of reproductive activity on the rate of aging of different organs are continuing.

An article about the experiment with a Morris pool was published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, journal impact factor - 4.

Krivova N.A. Zaeva O.B. Grigorieva V.A. Effect of a water-maze procedure on the redox mechanisms in brain parts of aged rats // Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. – 2015. – Vol. 7. – Art. № 29.