Because physical exercise is proven to improve bone properties and reduce fracture risk in non-diabetic people, researchers decided to test its efficacy in type 1 diabetes.
The study demonstrated that exercise-induced bone formation was maintained in mildly diabetic mice at a similar level as non-diabetic controls, while the positive effects of exercise were nearly abolished in severely diabetic mice.
At the cellular level, the researchers found that hyperglycemia reduced the sensitivity of osteocytes, bone forming cells, to mechanical stimulation and suppressed osteocytes' secretion of proteins and signaling molecules that help build stronger bone.
"Our work demonstrates that diabetic bone can respond to exercise when the hyperglycemia is not severe, which suggests that mechanical interventions may be useful to improve bone health and reduce fracture risk in mildly affected diabetic patients," author says.
"Coming at it from the other side, our results stress the importance of maintaining good control of blood sugar in diabetic patients so that exercise can do its work in maintaining bone health."