A new study reveals how regular exercise strengthens your brain's resilience to stress and helps you
Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying behavioral responses to stress is necessary to improve treatments for stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders. Increased physical activity is associated with stress resilience in humans, but the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this effect are not clear. This study investigated a potential causal mechanism of this effect driven by the neuropeptide galanin from the main noradrenergic nucleus, the locus coeruleus (LC). The study showed that chronic voluntary wheel running in mice increases stress resilience and increases galanin expression in the LC. Furthermore, the study showed that genetic overexpression of galanin in noradrenergic neurons causes resilience to a stressor and the anxiogenic effects of optogenetic LC activation. These findings support a role for chronically increased noradrenergic galanin in mediating resilience to stress.