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AbstractSlowing and/or reversing brain ageing may alleviate cognitive impairments. Previous studies have found that exercise may mitigate cognitive decline, but the mechanisms underlying this remain largely unclear. Here we provide unbiased analyses of single‐cell RNA sequencing data, showing the impacts of exercise and ageing on specific cell types in the mouse hippocampus. We demonstrate that exercise has a profound and selective effect on aged microglia, reverting their gene expression signature to that of young microglia. Pharmacologic depletion of microglia further demonstrated that these cells are required for the stimulatory effects of exercise on hippocampal neurogenesis but not cognition. Strikingly, allowing 18‐month‐old mice access to a running wheel did by and large also prevent and/or revert T cell presence in the ageing hippocampus. Taken together, our data highlight the profound impact of exercise in rejuvenating aged microglia, associated pro‐neurogenic effects and on peripheral immune cell presence in the ageing female mouse brain.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging Cell



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