Exercise ameliorates diabetes-induced osteoarthritis in rats

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha 61421, Saudi Arabia.


Introduction: Osteoarthritis secondary to diabetes is one of the common public health problems arising from diabetic complications in humans. Exercise was reported to alleviate cardiovascular diabetic complications. We sought to determine whether exercise can also ameliorate diabetes-induced osteoarthritis condition.  Material and methods: Using basic histological staining, I studied the morphological changes in the articular cartilage of diabetic rats with and without swim exercise and compare it with the control, untreated rats. In addition, interleukin-6 (IL-6), a biomarker that is known to be elevated in osteoarthritis was assayed in the blood of the three rat groups by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).    
Results: Compared to the control group, induction of type I diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in Wistar rats caused a profound damage to the knee joint cartilage as demonstrated by disrupted lacunae, condensing of the matrix and enlargement of the chondrocytes and its nucleus with the disappearance of both, the euchromatin staining and the discrete cytoplasmic vacuoles. Furthermore, there was a four-fold increase in IL-6 in the T1DM group that was significantly (p<0.01) reduced in the diabetic group with exercise. More interestingly, exercise resolved diabetes-induced cartilage damage by restoring the chondrocytes spherical intact nucleus and vaculated cytoplasms with regular lacunae.
Conclusion: In this report, we have demonstrated a model of diabetes-induced osteoarthritis in rats where swim exercise was able to ameliorate both articular cartilage damage and IL-6 inflammatory biomarker in T1DM rats.