Exercise accelerates cutaneous wound healing and decreases wound inflammation in aged mice

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Jan;294(1):R179-84. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00177.2007. Epub 2007 Nov 14.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of exercise on wound healing and inflammation in young (3 mo) and old (18 mo) female BALB/cByJ mice. Mice were assigned to either exercise or sedentary control (control) groups. The exercise group mice were run on a motorized treadmill at a moderate intensity 30 min/day for 8 days. All mice were given four full-thickness dermal wounds, and the rate of wound closure was assessed daily for 10 days. Four months later, the aged mice were rerandomized to treatment, wounded again in different locations, and wounds were harvested at 1, 3, or 5 days postwounding. Wound tissue was analyzed for IL-1beta, IL-6, keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and TNF-alpha protein. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and F4/80 mRNA were assessed as an indirect measure of neutrophil and macrophage content, respectively. There was a trend (P = 0.10) for exercise to reduce wound size in young mice, and exercise significantly (P < 0.05) decreased wound size in old mice. TNF-alpha, KC, and MCP-1 were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in wounds from exercised old mice compared with control. No group differences were found for wound IL-1beta or IL-6, MPO activity, or F4/80 mRNA. Our data suggest that exercise accelerates the wound healing process in old mice. This improved healing response in the old mice may be the result of an exercise-induced anti-inflammatory response in the wound.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Chemokines
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • monocyte-macrophage differentiation antigen
  • Peroxidase