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J Bone Miner Metab. 2015 May;33(3):261-9. doi: 10.1007/s00774-014-0597-3. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

Voluntary wheel running mitigates the stress-induced bone loss in ovariectomized rats.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand.


In estrogen-deficient rodents with osteopenia, repetitive exposure to mild-to-moderate stress, which mimics the chronic aversive stimuli (CAS) of the modern urban lifestyle in postmenopausal women, has been hypothesized to cause the bone microstructure to further deteriorate. Recently, we have provided evidence in rats that voluntary impact exercise, e.g., wheel running, is as effective as pharmacological treatments for stress-induced anxiety and depression. The present study, therefore, aims to investigate whether a 4-week CAS exposure aggravates trabecular bone loss in ovariectomized (Ovx) rats, and whether CAS-induced bone loss can be rescued by voluntary wheel running. CAS was found to elevate the serum levels of corticosterone, a stress hormone from the adrenal gland. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry revealed a decrease in bone mineral content (BMC) in the tibiae of CAS-exposed Ovx rats as compared to the CAS-free Ovx rats (control), while having no detectable effect on bone mineral density (BMD). Bone histomorphometric analysis of the proximal tibial metaphysis showed that CAS decreased trabecular bone volume and increased trabecular separation, which were completely restored to the baseline values of Ovx rats by voluntary wheel running. This CAS-induced trabecular bone loss in Ovx rats was probably due to an enhancement of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, as indicated by increases in osteoclast surface and active erosion surface. Moreover, wheel running as well as non-impact exercise (endurance swimming) effectively increased the tibial BMD and BMC of CAS-exposed Ovx rats. It can be concluded that exercise is an effective intervention in mitigating CAS-induced bone loss in estrogen-deficient rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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