Additive effect of voluntary exercise and growth hormone treatment on bone strength assessed at four different skeletal sites in an aged rat model

Li Mosekilde, J. S. Thomsen, P. B. Orhii, R. J. McCarter, W. Mejia, D. N. Kalu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The aim of the study was to assess the effect of growth hormone (GH), voluntary exercise (Ex), and the combination of GH and Ex on bone strength, mass, and dimensions in aged, intact female rats. In addition, the effect of food restriction (FR) was studied. Fourteen-month-old virgin F-344 rats were divided into 6 groups with 13 animals in each: (1) baseline (BSL); (2) control + solvent vehicle (CTRL); (3) GH 2.5 mg/kg/day (GH); (4) exercise, voluntary: 0.6-0.7 km/day (Ex); (5) GH treatment and voluntary exercise (GH + Ex); and (6) FR. Group 1 was killed at the beginning of the study and served as baseline. All the other groups were killed after 18 weeks' treatment. The effects of aging and treatment regimes were measured at four different skeletal sites: lumbar vertebrae, femoral cortical bone, femoral neck, and the distal femoral metaphysis. Aging in itself induced a decline in vertebral body strength and ash density. At the appendicular skeletal sites, bone mass and strength were unchanged or increased. Treatment with GH alone induced a significant increase in the biomechanical parameters at the vertebral body and the femoral diaphysis, but not at the femoral neck or the distal femoral metaphysis. Voluntary exercise on its own increased load values significantly over CTRL at the vertebral body site, but not at any of the appendicular skeletal sites. The combination of GH and voluntary exercise resulted in an additive effect at the vertebral site and at the femoral diaphysis, and a synergistic (potentiating) effect at the two femoral metaphyses. FR, on the other hand, had a negative effect on cortical bone area and strength at the femoral diaphysis, but no significant effect on the other sites tested. We conclude that GH treatment and voluntary exercise both have skeletal anabolic effects; however, these effects are exerted to differing degrees at different sites. Importantly, when dosed together, GH and Ex have either an additive or synergistic anabolic effect on all sites (axial and appendicular). Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Bone mass
  • Bone strength
  • Exercise
  • GH treatment
  • Rat model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


Dive into the research topics of 'Additive effect of voluntary exercise and growth hormone treatment on bone strength assessed at four different skeletal sites in an aged rat model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this