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Anat Rec. 1995 Jun;242(2):159-65.

Lifelong moderate running training increases the incidence and severity of osteoarthritis in the knee joint of C57BL mice.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, Finland.



Inbred C57BL male mice express a high incidence of spontaneous osteoarthritis of the knee joint at the age of 18 months. We used this strain of mice to find out the effects of life-long, moderate running exercise on the health of articular cartilage and the incidence of osteoarthritis.


Male mice (294) were divided into controls and runners. The runners were trained daily between 2 and 18 months of age. The speed was 13.3 m/min and the distance on a flatbelt treadmill was 1,000 m/day. The mice were sacrificed at the ages of 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18 months. The knee joints were sectioned in frontal direction and the osteoarthritic changes were graded using a conventional light microscope. The reproducibility of the grading method was tested by calculating the extended kappa-coefficient for the results of six researchers.


The incidence of osteoarthritis at the age of 18 months increased from 72% in controls to 88% in runners in the medial tibial condyles (P < 0.05), and from 80 to 96% in the lateral tibial condyles (P < 0.001). The incidence of the most severe osteoarthritic changes rose from 16% in controls to 36% in runners in the medial tibial condyles, and from 4 to 36% in the lateral tibial condyles.


According to our results, the moderate, long-lasting running exercise accelerates the development of osteoarthritis in the knee joints of C57BL mice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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