Moderate exercise protects against joint disease in a murine model of osteoarthritis

C. Huesa, Lynette Dunning, K. MacDougall, M. Fegen, A. Ortiz, K. McCulloch, S. McGrath, G.J. Litherland, A. Crilly, R. van't Hof, W,R. Ferrell, C.S. Goodyear*, J.C. Lockhart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Exercise is recommended as a non-pharmacological therapy for osteoarthritis (OA). Various exercise regimes, with differing intensities and duration, have been used in a range of OA rodent models. These studies show gentle or moderate exercise reduces the severity of OA parameters while high intensity load bearing exercise is detrimental. However, these studies were largely conducted in rats or in mouse models induced by severe injury, age or obesity, whilst destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) in mice has become a widely accepted model due to its lower variability, moderate progression and timescale. The present study was undertaken to provide insight into the effect of moderate exercise on early joint pathology in the DMM mouse model. Exercise was induced a week after induction by forced wheel walking for three or 7 weeks. Joints were analyzed by microcomputed tomography and histology. Assessment of skeletal parameters revealed that exercise offered protection against cartilage damage after 7 weeks of exercise, and a temporary protection against osteosclerosis was displayed after 3 weeks of exercise. Furthermore, exercise modified the metaphyseal trabecular microarchitecture of the osteoarthritic leg in both time points examined. Collectively, our findings corroborate previous studies showing that exercise has an important effect on bone in OA, which subsequently, at 8 weeks post-induction, translates into less cartilage damage. Thus, providing an exercise protocol in a surgical mouse model of OA, which can be used in the future to further dissect the mechanisms by which moderate exercise ameliorates OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1065278
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022


  • exercise
  • osteoarthritis
  • DMM
  • cartilage
  • synovitis
  • bone


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