Share this article on:

Training Effects in Mice after Long-Term Voluntary Exercise


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 250-255
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000183179.86594.4f
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Background: Mice are an important animal model in exercise studies on the immune system, cancer, and aging. There is limited research about the training effects of long-term voluntary exercise in this species.

Purpose: To describe the training effects in mice given long-term aerobic voluntary exercise.

Methods: Female C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to 1) individual cages with in-cage running wheels with 24-h access (WR; N = 31), or 2) individual cages without running wheels for 16 wk (NR; N = 20). Run-to-exhaustion (RTE) times, V̇O2peak, speed at V̇O2peak, and citrate synthase (CS), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), and phosphofructokinase (PFK) activity in the soleus, plantaris, and red and white gastrocnemius were assessed.

Results: Final body weight and speed at V̇O2peak did not differ by training condition. WR mice had significantly longer RTE times (P < 0.001) and higher V̇O2peak (P < 0.05) compared with NR mice. Higher CS and SDH activities were found in WR compared with NR mice for soleus (P < 0.01), red gastrocnemius (P < 0.01), and plantaris (P < 0.01) muscles. PFK activity was higher in WR mice in white gastrocnemius compared with NR mice (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Voluntary running wheel activity for 16 wk in female C57BL/6 mice resulted in longer run times to exhaustion, higher V̇O2peak, and higher SDH and CS activities in oxidative muscles. These findings suggest that wheel running in female C57BL/6 mice: 1) produces a measurable aerobic training effect and 2) is an effective exercise modality for long-term training studies.

1Department of Health Studies and Gerontology and 2Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Laurie Hoffman-Goetz, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, Faculty of Applied Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1 Canada; E-mail:

Submitted for publication April 2005.

Accepted for publication August 2005.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine