Bones adapt their structure to their loading environment and so ensure that they become, and are maintained, sufficiently strong to withstand the loads to which they are habituated. The effectiveness of this process declines with age and bones become fragile fracturing with less force. This effect in humans also occurs in mice which experience age-related bone loss and reduced adaptation to loading. Exercise engenders many systemic and local muscular physiological responses as well as engendering local bone strain. To investigate whether these physiological responses influence bones' adaptive responses to mechanical strain we examined whether a period of treadmill exercise influenced the adaptive response to an associated period of artificial loading in young adult (17-week) and old (19-month) mice. After treadmill acclimatization, mice were exercised for 30min three times per week for two weeks. Three hours after each exercise period, right tibiae were subjected to 40cycles of non-invasive axial loading engendering peak strain at the midshaft of 2250με. In both young and aged mice exercise increased cross-sectional muscle area and serum sclerostin concentration. In young mice it also increased serum IGF1. Exercise did not affect bone's adaptation to loading in any measured parameter in young or aged bone. These data demonstrate that a level of exercise sufficient to cause systemic changes in serum, and adaptive changes in local musculature, has no effect on bone's response to loading 3h later. This study provides no support for the beneficial effects of exercise on bone in the elderly being mediated by systemic or local muscle-derived effects rather than local adaptation to altered mechanical strain.
- Bone adaptation
- Artificial loading