Diane M. Pierce

Diane Pierce

University of New Hampshire

Animal and Nutritional Sciences


Mentor: Dr. Gale B. Carey, Associate Professor of Animal & Nutritional Sciences

Is the Young Exercise Trained Swine a Good Model for the Exercise Trained Child?

Little is known about the physiologic responses of children to exercise or how and why these responses differ from those of adults. Due to the ethical and technical constraints preventing the study of muscle biochemistry with exercise in children, there is a need for an appropriate animal model. The object of this study is to determine if the immature swine is a reasonable model for studying how children respond to exercise. Two littermate pairs of swine were used for this study; one member was sedentary, the other was exercise-trained. Response to exercise was determined by measuring maximum heart rate, VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption), muscle enzyme activity, and muscle fiber type. Maximum heart rate was measured during a treadmill test by an electrocardiogram. Swine ran at 5Kph for two minute intervals at 0% grade, 5% grade, 10% grade, 15% grade and 20% grade or until exhaustion. VO2 max values were measured during the treadmill test by collecting inspired and expired air via a respiratory mask placed over the pig's snout during exercise. Gases within this closed system were analyzed by a sensormedics gas analyzer for carbon dioxide and oxygen. One week prior to the treadmill test, muscle biopsies were taken from the brachialis muscle and frozen for latter analysis of muscle enzyme activity and muscle fiber type. Measurements have been completed on two sets of littermates (the entire study consists of 8 sets) at the beginning of a 12-week exercise training period. Maximum heart rates of the two exercise-trained swine were 272 and 282 bpm. VO2 max values were 54.49 ml/kg/min and 44.60 ml/kg/min. The swine are currently 6 weeks into the training protocol. At the end of 12 weeks, the exercise response measurements will be repeated. We conclude that heart rate data, VO2 max data and muscle biopsy samples can be successfully collected; this permits us to continue our study in order to determine if the immature swine is a reasonable model for studying how children respond to exercise.

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