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Effects of voluntary exercise on spontaneous physical activity and food consumption in mice: Results from an artificial selection experiment.

  • Author(s): Copes, Lynn E;
  • Schutz, Heidi;
  • Dlugosz, Elizabeth M;
  • Acosta, Wendy;
  • Chappell, Mark A;
  • Garland, Theodore
  • et al.

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We evaluated the effect of voluntary exercise on spontaneous physical activity (SPA) and food consumption in mice from 4 replicate lines bred for 57 generations for high voluntary wheel running (HR) and from 4 non-selected control (C) lines. Beginning at ~24 days of age, mice were housed in standard cages or in cages with attached wheels. Wheel activity and SPA were monitored in 1-min intervals. Data from the 8th week of the experiment were analyzed because mice were sexually mature and had plateaued in body mass, weekly wheel running distance, SPA, and food consumption. Body mass, length, and masses of the retroperitoneal fat pad, liver, and heart were recorded after the 13th week. SPA of both HR and C mice decreased with wheel access, due to reductions in both duration and average intensity of SPA. However, total activity duration (SPA+wheel running; min/day) was ~1/3 greater when mice were housed with wheels, and food consumption was significantly increased. Overall, food consumption in both HR and C mice was more strongly affected by wheel running than by SPA. Duration of wheel running had a stronger effect than average speed, but the opposite was true for SPA. With body mass as a covariate, chronic wheel access significantly reduced fat pad mass and increased heart mass in both HR and C mice. Given that both HR and C mice housed with wheels had increased food consumption, the energetic cost of wheel running was not fully compensated by concomitant reductions in SPA. The experiment demonstrates that both duration and intensity of both wheel running and SPA were significant predictors of food consumption. This sort of detailed analysis of the effects of different aspects of physical activity on food consumption has not previously been reported for a non-human animal, and it sets the stage for longitudinal examination of energy balance and its components in rodent models.

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