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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 507848, 8 pages
Research Article

Swimming Activity Prevents the Unloading Induced Loss of Bone Mass, Architecture, and Strength in Rats

1Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2Department of Restorative Dentistry, Dental School of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 4 November 2014; Revised 7 April 2015; Accepted 22 April 2015

Academic Editor: Kunikazu Tsuji

Copyright © 2015 Maurício J. Falcai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated whether swimming activity associated with a three-week period of hypoactivity could prevent the deleterious effects of disuse on the tibias of tail-suspended rats. Forty Wistar rats were divided into five groups: (HS) permanently hindlimb suspension rats; (HS + Swim) rats submitted to unloading interrupted by swimming exercise; (HS + WB) hindlimb suspension rats with interruption for regular weight bearing for the same length of time as the HS+Swim rats; (Control) control rats that were allowed regular cage activities; and (Control + Swim) control rats that underwent swimming exercise. At the end of the experiment, bone mineral density, bone strength, and trabecular quantification were analyzed. The hindlimb-suspended rats exhibited bone quality loss (significant decrease in BMD, bone strength, and deterioration of trabecular and cortical bone architecture; decrease in BV/TV, TbN, TbTh, ConnD, CtV, and CtTh; and increase in TbSp) when compared to control rats. In contrast, trained rats showed a significant increase of 43% in bone mass, 29% in bone strength, 58% in trabecular thickness, 85% in bone volume, 27% in trabeculae number, and 30% in cortical volume, when compared to the hindlimb-suspended rats. We conclude that swimming activity not only ameliorates but also fully prevents the deleterious effects on bone quality in osteopenic rats.