U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Skeletal site-specific effects of endurance running on structure and strength of tibia, lumbar vertebrae, and mandible in male Sprague–Dawley rats

Kirsten N. Bott, Sandra M. Sacco, Patrick C. Turnbull, Amanda B. Longo, Wendy E. Ward, Sandra J. Peters
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 2016 v.41 no.6 pp. 597-604
bone density, bone strength, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, food intake, males, mandible (bone), mastication, materials testing, metabolism, micro-computed tomography, rats, skeleton, tibia, vertebrae
Bone microarchitecture, bone mineral density (BMD), and bone strength are affected positively by impact activities such as running; however, there are discrepancies in the magnitude of these effects. These inconsistencies are mainly a result of varying training protocols, analysis techniques, and whether or not the skeletal sites measured are weight bearing. This study’s purpose was to determine the effects of endurance running on sites that experience different weight bearing and load. Eight-week-old male Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 20) were randomly assigned to either a group with a progressive treadmill running protocol (25 m/min for 1 h, incline of 10%) or a nontrained control group for 8 weeks. The trabecular structure of the tibia, lumbar vertebra (L3), and mandible and the cortical structure at the tibia midpoint were measured using microcomputed tomography to quantify bone volume fraction (i.e., bone volume divided by total volume (BV/TV)), trabecular number (Tb.N), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), trabecular separation (Tb.Sp), and cortical thickness. BMD at the proximal tibia, lumbar vertebrae (L1–L3), and mandible was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The tibia midpoint strength was measured by 3-point bending using a materials testing system. Endurance running resulted in superior bone structure at the proximal tibia (12% greater BV/TV (p = 0.03), 14% greater Tb.N (p = 0.01), and 19% lower Tb.Sp (p = 0.05)) but not at other sites. Contrary to our hypothesis, mandible bone structure was altered after endurance training (8% lower BV/TV (p < 0.01) and 15% lower Tb.Th (p < 0.01)), which may be explained by a lower food intake, resulting in less mechanical loading from chewing. These results highlight the site-specific effects of loading on the skeleton.