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Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:507848. doi: 10.1155/2015/507848. Epub 2015 May 18.

Swimming Activity Prevents the Unloading Induced Loss of Bone Mass, Architecture, and Strength in Rats.

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Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
Department of Restorative Dentistry, Dental School of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


We investigated whether swimming activity associated with a three-week period of hypoactivity could prevent the deleterious effects of disuse on the tibias of tail-suspended rats. Forty Wistar rats were divided into five groups: (HS) permanently hindlimb suspension rats; (HS + Swim) rats submitted to unloading interrupted by swimming exercise; (HS + WB) hindlimb suspension rats with interruption for regular weight bearing for the same length of time as the HS+Swim rats; (Control) control rats that were allowed regular cage activities; and (Control + Swim) control rats that underwent swimming exercise. At the end of the experiment, bone mineral density, bone strength, and trabecular quantification were analyzed. The hindlimb-suspended rats exhibited bone quality loss (significant decrease in BMD, bone strength, and deterioration of trabecular and cortical bone architecture; decrease in BV/TV, TbN, TbTh, ConnD, CtV, and CtTh; and increase in TbSp) when compared to control rats. In contrast, trained rats showed a significant increase of 43% in bone mass, 29% in bone strength, 58% in trabecular thickness, 85% in bone volume, 27% in trabeculae number, and 30% in cortical volume, when compared to the hindlimb-suspended rats. We conclude that swimming activity not only ameliorates but also fully prevents the deleterious effects on bone quality in osteopenic rats.

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