Body Weight Influences Musculoskeletal Adaptation to Running in Aging Mice


“[...] [voluntary wheel running] differentially alters bone parameters depending on body weight [...]”

Listen to an audio version of this press release

BUFFALO, NY- February 8, 2023 – A new research paper was published in Aging (listed as "Aging (Albany NY)" by MEDLINE/PubMed and "Aging-US" by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 2, entitled, “Body weight influences musculoskeletal adaptation to long-term voluntary wheel running during aging in female mice.”

Aging increases the prevalence of sarcopenia and osteoporosis that are often both components of a musculoskeletal syndrome, osteosarcopenia. Osteosarcopenia is highly associated with frailty, falls, fractures, and disability, leading to decreased quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality. Frailty is the hallmark of aging that can be delayed with exercise. 

In this new research paper, researchers Yukiko Kitase, Julian A. Vallejo, Sarah L. Dallas, Yixia Xie, Mark Dallas, LeAnn Tiede-Lewis, David Moore, Anthony Meljanac, Corrine Kumar, Carrie Zhao, Jennifer Rosser, Marco Brotto, Mark L. Johnson, Ziyue Liu, Michael J. Wacker, and Lynda Bonewald from Indiana University, University of Missouri and University of Texas wrote that the present studies were initiated based on the hypothesis that long-term voluntary wheel running (VWR) in female mice from 12 to 18 or 22 months of age would have beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal system. 

“Frequently osteoporosis and sarcopenia occur concurrently. It is not known if one precedes the other or if one condition influences disease progression of the other condition [26, 27]. We hypothesized that long-term voluntary exercise started later in life (12 months of age) would improve both skeletal muscle and bone parameters in aging female mice up to 22 months.”

Mice were separated into high (HBW) and low (LBW) body weight based on final body weights upon termination of experiments. Bone marrow fat was significantly higher in HBW than LBW under sedentary conditions, but not with VWR. HBW was more protective for soleus size and function than LBW under sedentary conditions, however VWR increased soleus size and function regardless of body weight. 

VWR plus HBW was more protective against muscle loss with aging. Similar effects of VWR plus HBW were observed with the extensor digitorum longus, EDL, however, LBW with VWR was beneficial in improving EDL fatigue resistance in 18 mo mice and was more beneficial with regards to muscle production of bone protective factors. VWR plus HBW maintained bone in aged animals. 

In summary, HBW had a more beneficial effect on muscle and bone with aging especially in combination with exercise. These effects were independent of bone marrow fat, suggesting that intrinsic musculoskeletal adaptions were responsible for these beneficial effects.”

“Collectively, VWR has beneficial effects on bone health during advanced aging regardless of body weight, but VWR differentially alters bone parameters depending on body weight, with modifications in mechanical properties in LBW but structural modifications in HBW contributing to the prevention of osteopenia.”

Read the Full Paper: DOI: 

Corresponding Authors: Lynda Bonewald, Michael J. Wacker

Corresponding Emails:, 

Keywords: body weight, musculoskeletal adaptation, long-term, voluntary wheel running, aging

Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article:

About Aging-US:

Aging publishes research papers in all fields of aging research, including but not limited to aging processes (from yeast to mammals), cellular senescence, age-related diseases (such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease) and their prevention and treatment, anti-aging strategies and drug development, and, importantly, the role of signal transduction pathways in aging (such as mTOR) and potential approaches to modulate these signaling pathways to extend lifespan.

The journal aims to promote 1) treatment of age-related diseases by slowing down aging, 2) validation of anti-aging drugs by treating age-related diseases, and 3) prevention of cancer by inhibiting aging. (Cancer and COVID-19 are age-related diseases.).

Please visit our website at and connect with us:

For media inquiries, please contact