Int J Sports Med 2011; 32(5): 344-352
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1271679
Physiology & Biochemistry

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Lifelong Sedentary Behaviour and Femur Structure

H. Fonseca1 , D. Gonçalves2 , P. Figueiredo3 , M. P. Mota4 , J. A. Duarte5
  • 1FADEUP, Biochemistry, Porto, Portugal
  • 2FADEUP, Biochemistry of Sports, Porto, Portugal
  • 3Faculty of Sports, CIAFEL, University of Porto, Portugal
  • 4Department of Sport, University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal
  • 5Sport Biology, University of Porto, Portugal
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision December 23, 2010

Publication Date:
04 March 2011 (online)


The aim of the present study was to analyze the lifelong differences of femur structure in sedentary and physically active animal models. Thirty male C57BL/6 mice, 2 months old, were either: i) housed in cages with running wheel (AA; n=10), ii) housed in cages without running wheel (AS; n=10), iii) or sacrificed without intervention (Y; n=10). AA and AS animals were sacrificed after 23 months of housing. Right femur structure was analyzed in all animals by histomorphometry. Significant differences in several microarchitectural parameters of cancellous and cortical bone were identified between Y mice and both groups of aged mice, as well as between AA and AS groups. Lifelong physically active mice had significantly higher cancellous bone surface (Cn.BS) and trabecular number (Tb.N) and decreased trabecular separation (Tb.Sp) at both epiphyses when compared to AS animals. No differences were observed between Y and AA groups regarding osteocyte number (N.Ot) despite its significant reduction in AS animals, suggesting that age alone was not a cause for decreases in N.Ot. Our results suggest that the reduced bone quality observed in the elderly is not only a consequence of age but also of lack of physical activity since sedentary behaviour significantly aggravated the degenerative age-related bone differences.


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