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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Sep 2019 - 20 Sep 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2019 Aug-Dec

Neurobiol Pain


Voluntary exercise reduces both chemotherapy-induced neuropathic nociception and deficits in hippocampal cellular proliferation in a mouse model of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common dose-limiting side-effect of all major chemotherapeutic agents. Here, we explored efficacy of voluntary exercise as a nonpharmacological strategy for suppressing two distinct adverse side effects of chemotherapy treatment. We evaluated whether voluntary running would suppress both neuropathic pain and deficits in hippocampal cell proliferation in a mouse model of CIPN induced by the taxane chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel. Mice were given free access to running wheels or were housed without running wheels during one of three different intervention phases: 1) during the onset (i.e. development phase) of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy, 2) prior to dosing with paclitaxel or its vehicle, or 3) following the establishment (i.e. maintenance phase) of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy. Paclitaxel treatment did not alter running wheel behavior relative to vehicle-treated animals in any study. Animals that engaged in voluntary running during the development phase of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy failed to display mechanical or cold hypersensitivities relative to sedentary control animals that did not have access to running wheels. A prior history of voluntary running delayed the onset of, but did not fully prevent, development of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain behavior. Voluntary running reduced already established mechanical and cold allodynia induced by paclitaxel. Importantly, voluntary running did not alter mechanical or cold responsivity in vehicle-treated animals, suggesting that the observed antinociceptive effect of exercise was dependent upon the presence of the pathological pain state. In the same animals evaluated for nociceptive responding, paclitaxel also reduced cellular proliferation but not cellular survival in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, as measured by immunohistochemistry for Ki67 and BrdU expression, respectively. Voluntary running abrogated paclitaxel-induced reductions in cellular proliferation to levels observed in vehicle-treated mice and also increased BrdU expression levels irrespective of chemotherapy treatment. Our studies support the hypothesis that voluntary exercise may be beneficial in suppressing both neuropathic pain and markers of hippocampal cellular function that are impacted by toxic challenge with chemotherapeutic agents.