Journal of Applied Physiology 84:69-76.
An animal model was developed to study effects on components of exercise physiology of both "nature" (10 generations of genetic selection for high voluntary activity on running wheels) and "nurture" (7-8 wk of access or no access to running wheels, beginning at weaning). At the end of the experiment, mice from both wheel-access groups were significantly lighter in body mass than mice from sedentary groups. Within the wheel-access group, a statistically significant, negative relationship existed between activity and final body mass. In measurements of maximum oxygen consumption during forced treadmill exercise (VO2max), mice with wheel access were significantly more cooperative than sedentary mice; however, trial quality was not a significant predictor of individual variation in VO2max. Nested two-way analysis of covariance demonstrated that both genetic selection history and access to wheels had significant positive effects on VO2max. A 12% difference in VO2max existed between wheel-access selected mice, which had the highest mass-corrected VO2max, and sedentary control mice, which had the lowest. The respiratory exchange ratio at VO2max was also significantly lower in the wheel-access group. Our results suggest the existence of a possible genetic correlation between voluntary activity levels (behavior) and aerobic capacity (physiology).
Copyright 1998 the American Physiological Society