Ageing is a complex biological process that increases the probability of disease and death, which affects the organs of all species. The accumulation of oxidative damage in the brain contributes to a progressive loss of cognitive functions or even declined the energy metabolism. In this study, we tested the effects of exercise training on the apoptosis, survival, and antioxidant signaling pathways in the cerebral cortex of three age groups of male rats; 3, 12, and 18 months. We observed that H2S and the expression of Nrf2-related antioxidant pathways declined with age and increased after exercise training. IGF1R survival pathway was less increased in middle-aged rats; however, significantly increased after exercise training. The expression of mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathway components, such as Bak, cytochrome C, and caspase 3 in the ageing control group, were much higher than those of the exercise training groups. This study demonstrated that exercise training could reduce the apoptosis and oxidative stress that accrues throughout ageing, which causes brain damage. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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