Involuntary Wheel Running Improves but Does Not Fully Reverse the Deterioration of Bone Structure of Obese Rats Despite Decreasing Adiposity

Calcif Tissue Int. 2015 Aug;97(2):145-55. doi: 10.1007/s00223-015-9992-6. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


This study investigated whether exercise or antioxidant supplementation with vitamin C and E during exercise affects bone structure and markers of bone metabolism in obese rat. Sprague-Dawley rats, 6-week old, were fed a normal-fat diet (NF, 10 % kcal as fat) and a high-fat diet (HF, 45 % with extra fat from lard) ad libitum for 14 weeks. Then, rats on the high-fat diet were assigned randomly to three treatment groups for additional 12 weeks with forced exercise: HF; HF + exercise (HF + Ex); and HF with vitamin C (0.5 g ascorbate/kg diet) and vitamin E (0.4 g α-tocopherol acetate/kg diet) supplementation + exercise (HF + Ex + VCE). At the end of the study, body weight and fat (%) were similar among NF, HF + Ex, and HF + Ex + VCE, whereas HF had greater body weight and fat (%) than other groups. Compared to NF, HF had elevated serum leptin, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), and IGF-1; increased trabecular separation and structural model index; and lowered bone mineral density, trabecular connectivity density, and trabecular number in distal femur, while HF + Ex and HF + Ex + VCE had elevated serum TRAP and decreased bone volume/total volume and trabecular number of distal femurs. Compared to HF, HF + Ex and HF + Ex + VCE had decreased serum TRAP and osteocalcin and improved bone structural properties of the distal femur. These findings suggest that exercise, while decreasing body fat, does not fully protect against the negative skeletal effects of existing obesity induced by a high-fat diet. Furthermore, vitamin C and E supplementation has no additional benefits on bone structural properties during exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / drug effects
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin A
  • Ascorbic Acid