Researchers at Emory University have gained new insights into how exercise confers stress resilience. Stress can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders are only partially responsive to medication, and at this point, there is no way to predict who will respond. Exercise can be protective against the deleterious consequences of stress, and the protein galanin has been implicated in stress resilience, prompting the authors to test whether voluntary exercise in response to stress raised galanin levels, and whether that led to improved stress resilience. The team showed that when stressed mice had access to and used a running wheel, they had increased levels of galanin in the locus coeruleus, and that increased their resilience to stress. The authors concluded that “our findings support a causal role for chronically elevated noradrenergic-derived galanin in promoting stress resilience.” They reported their results in the Sept. 1, 2020, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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