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Relationship between iron, sleep, physical exercise in an animal model of sleep-related movement disorders


One of the risk factors for the increased incidence of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) in pregnant women is anemia, since iron deficiency during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the mother and her baby, such as cognitive deficits and behavioral changes. On the other hand, there is evidence in the literature that the practice of physical activity presents neuroprotective properties, modulating different brain functions.


The objective of the present study was to observe in the offspring of rats, treated with diet presenting different concentrations of iron (control, restriction and supplementation), alterations caused in sleep, locomotor activity and in the receptor and dopaminergic transporter. In addition, the impact of a physical exercise protocol on these variables analyzed in the offspring was evaluated.


For this, pregnant Wistar rats were distributed in groups that received control diets, supplementation and iron restriction. After weaning, the offspring of each group were divided into two groups: 1)Physical exercise and2) Sedentary. Sleep assessments (Polysomnography), behavior (Open Field), gene expression (PCR) and protein content (WB) of dopamine receptor (D2) and dopamine transporter (DAT) were performed after 8 weeks of physical exercise (swimming).


In the Open Field test the exercised offspring of supplementary mothers showed a significant increase in the freezing parameter when compared to all other groups at most times (Repeated measures ANOVA p≤0.05). Through polysomnography it was verified that the sleep pattern of the offspring of the restriction group (sedentary and Physical Exercise) presented an increase in the number of awakenings and paw movements during 24h of registration in relation to the supplementation group (Repeated measures ANOVA p≤0,05). In the analysis of gene expression between sedentary groups and exercise according to diet, the exercise restriction group increased D2 compared to sedentary (Test T p≤0.05). No difference was found in protein content of D2 and DAT between sedentary groups (one-way ANOVA p≤0.05).


In this context, we can suggest that the iron diet during pregnancy and the physical exercise performed by the offspring in adulthood may present some changes in the behavior and sleep pattern in this offspring evaluated. However, the results suggest that the presence of iron deficiency during pregnancy is not a predisposing factor for offspring to have movement disorders in adulthood.


exercise, sleep, animal model


Área Básica


Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas - UNICAMP - Sao Paulo - Brasil, Faculdade de Educação Física - UNICAMP - Sao Paulo - Brasil


Beatriz da Silva Franco, Diego Silva Mota, Paulo Daubian Rubini dos Santos Nosé, Natália de Almeida Rodrigues, Laís Angélica de Paula Simino, Thaís de Fante, Rosangela Maria Neves Bezerra, Fúlvia de Barros Machado Gobatto, Adriana Souza Torsoni, Andrea Maculano Esteves