Cerebellar sub-divisions differ in exercise-induced plasticity of noradrenergic axons and in their association with resilience to activity-based anorexia

Hermina Nedelescu, Tara G. Chowdhury, Gauri S. Wable, Gordon Arbuthnott, Chiye Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The vermis or “spinocerebellum” receives input from the spinal cord and motor cortex for controlling balance and locomotion, while the longitudinal hemisphere region or “cerebro-cerebellum” is interconnected with non-motor cortical regions, including the prefrontal cortex that underlies decision-making. Noradrenaline release in the cerebellum is known to be important for motor plasticity but less is known about plasticity of the cerebellar noradrenergic (NA) system, itself. We characterized plasticity of dopamine β-hydroxylase-immunoreactive NA fibers in the cerebellum of adolescent female rats that are evoked by voluntary wheel running, food restriction (FR) or by both, in combination. When 8 days of wheel access was combined with FR during the last 4 days, some responded with excessive exercise, choosing to run even during the hours of food access: this exacerbated weight loss beyond that due to FR alone. In the vermis, exercise, with or without FR, shortened the inter-varicosity intervals and increased varicosity density along NA fibers, while excessive exercise, due to FR, also shortened NA fibers. In contrast, the hemisphere required the FR-evoked excessive exercise to evoke shortened inter-varicosity intervals along NA fibers and this change was exhibited more strongly by rats that suppressed the FR-evoked excessive exercise, a behavior that minimized weight loss. Presuming that shortened inter-varicosity intervals translate to enhanced NA release and synthesis of norepinephrine, this enhancement in the cerebellar hemisphere may contribute towards protection of individuals from the life-threatening activity-based anorexia via relays with higher-order cortical areas that mediate the animal’s decision to suppress the innate FR-evoked hyperactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-339
Number of pages23
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Activity-based anorexia
  • Cerebellum
  • Exercise
  • Food restriction
  • Noradrenergic axons
  • Voluntary wheel running

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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