The effect of locomotion on the mobilization of minerals from the maternal skeleton.
Wendy R Hood
- Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
(issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
Q | R | Research Article | Science | Medicine
Bone is a dynamic tissue from which minerals are deposited or withdrawn according to the body’s demand. During late pregnancy and lactation, female mammals mobilize mineral from bone to support the ossification of offspring skeleton(s). Conversely, in response to mechanical loading, minerals are deposited in bone enabling it to develop a stronger architecture. Despite their central importance to reproductive performance and skeletal integrity, the interactions between these potentially opposing forces remains poorly understood. It is possible that inter-individual differences in the loading imposed by different forms of locomotion may alter the amount of mineral mobilized during reproduction. Here, the impact of vertical versus horizontal locomotion on bone mobilization was examined during reproduction in the laboratory mouse. The vertical, or climbing, group had access to a 60-cm tower, increasing strain on their appendicular skeleton. The horizontal, or tunnel, group had access to a 100-cm tunnel, which encouraged movements within the horizontal plane. Form of locomotion did not impact the amount of bone females mobilized during reproduction or the amount of mineral females deposited in the litter, but maternal bone architecture differed between groups. The climbing group displayed more trabeculae than the tunnel group, whereas the tunnel group displayed greater cortical bone mineral density mid-shaft. Interestingly, pups born to mothers in the climbing group had a higher concentration of total body calcium at 16 days than pups of mothers in the tunnel group. As maternal total body calcium composition and the amount of calcium invested in the full litter were not different between groups, the difference in the relative calcium content of pups between groups is not suspected to reflect difference in mineral allocation. Future research should consider the impact of maternal activity on the efficiency of offspring skeletal ossification via hormones and other bioactive factors transferred in utero and in milk.