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Bone healing in rats submitted to weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercises

Carlos Romualdo Rueff-Barroso, Debora Milagres, Juliana do Valle, Gustavo Casimiro-Lopes, Jose Firmino Nogueira-Neto, Jose Fernando Cardona Zanier, Luis Cristovao Porto

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(11): BR231-236

ID: 869436

Background: To investigate the effects of low-intensity exercise on bone healing during a short time.
Material and Method: We made a surgical 1-mm perforation in the upper third medial cortical of the right tibia of 45 male Wistar rats (3 months old; mean weight, 282+/-34 g). Animals were randomly assigned to a swimming exercise group (SWIM, n=15), a running exercise group (RUN, n=15), or a no exercise control group (CON, n=15). Treatment sessions (10 minutes/day, 5 days/week) were done for 7, 14, or 21 days. Tibias were removed for radiographic, morphometric, and stereologic analyses. Blood samples were obtained for biochemical analyses.
Results: Serum phosphorus levels were higher in animals in the RUN group compared with animals in the SWIM group on the seventh day. On the 14th day, the tibias of the animals in the SWIM and RUN groups exhibited higher radiopacity in radiographic grades than animals in the CON group. No difference in collagen morphometry was verified. On the 21st day, serum alkaline phosphatase levels were higher in animals in the CON group than they were in the exercise groups, and animals in the SWIM and CON groups demonstrated an increase in newly formed bone in comparison to animals in the RUN group.
Conclusions: At the 14th day of treatment, weight-bearing exercise, assessed by radiography, was found to be beneficial for bone healing. Results at the 21st day of treatment further supported the benefits of non-weight-bearing exercises, showing that weight-bearing exercise may improve bone repair in rats.

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