Regular trainings are useful also for invertebrates

Scientists from Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology have proved that movement helps invertebrate animals successfully adapt to changes in the environment. Earlier favorable effect of locomotion on the work of nervous system was proved only for vertebrates. New data point at the fact that this mechanism is universal and older as far as evolution is concerned, than it was considered. Results of this work have been presented on the XXIV congress of Pavlov Russian Physiological Society in Saint Petersburg.

Motion in one form or another is typical for all living organisms. Numerous researches showed that multi-celled animals regulate motion with a help of nervous system. Feedback: influence of locomotion on activity of nervous cells – has begun being studied rather recently. Up to date it is a fact that as far as vertebrates, including humans, is concerned, active locomotion, for example, jogging, activates the work of brain, helps memory improvement and learning ability. But it has been still unknown whether invertebrates have the similar connection.

Varvara Dyakonova from Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology have presented to participants of the XXIV congress of Pavlov Russian Physiological Society results of researches that showed that conclusions made concerning vertebrates, are also true for invertebrates.

Researchers found out that as far as three big and far related groups of invertebrates is concerned, namely, nematodes, shellfish and jointed-limbed animals, motion improves brain function. Thus, as far as nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is concerned, swimming protects from neurodegeneration, improves associative learning and also speeds regeneration of nerves. As far as shellfish Lymnaea stagnalis is concerned, crawling improves further activity and eases adaptation to the new environment. Active flights of fly Drosophila spp. improves strength, normalizes sleeping, and as far as cricket Gryllus bimaculatus is concerned, raise stability to alarm signals.

Authors suggest, that motion can serve as a signal for living organisms about some potential changes in the environment, to answer which the nervous system begins “to prepare”, correcting the activity of neurons. Experiments have shown that animals after durable intensive “trainings” adopt to changes in the environment really more quickly, than those that have been motionless. On the molecular level that was expressed in the fact that animals under research showed in answer to active locomotion metabolic change of nerve cells, expression of some genes in them, and also activation of neurons, emitting signal molecules that participate in sexual behavior. This data points at the fact that influence of motion on the work of brain is evolutionally old feature that has specific biologic role in the process of adaptation of living organisms to novelty.

The material was prepared with the financial support of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science within the framework of the federal project “Popularization of science and technology”.