Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic neuromuscular disorder with progressive clinical signs until death, around the second decade of life. Mdx is the most used animal model to pre-clinical studies of DMD. Parameters of exercise on this muscular disease are still unknown. This research aimed to investigate if the low intensity treadmill training would exacerbate the markers of muscle injury, fibrosis, and the composition of the extracellular matrix by type I and III collagens of the mdx model. Dystrophic 11-week-old male mice were separated in exercised (mdxE, n=8) and sedentary (mdxC, n=8) groups. Wild-type mice were used as control (WT, n=8). Exercised group underwent a LIT protocol (9 m/min, 30min, 3days/week, 60 days) on a horizontal treadmill. Gastrocnemius muscle was collected at day 60 and processed to morphological and morphometric analyzes. Sedentary mdx animals presented inflammatory infiltrate and necrotic fibers. Histochemical analysis revealed that the perimysium of the mdxC group is organized into thick and clustered collagen fibers, which generates a larger area of intramuscular collagen fibers for these animals. Histomorphometry attested that fraction area of collagen fibers of mdxC group was higher than mdxE group (p=0.04) and mdxE group values similar to WT group (p=1.00). Centrally located nuclei fibers and the variance coefficient (VC) of minimal Feret’s diameter was similar in mdxE and mdxC groups (p=1.00) and both groups presented higher mean values than WT group (p<0.00). Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of type I collagen mainly in the mdxC group. LIT protocol had not exacerbated muscle injuries resulting from the dystrophin- deficiency membrane fragility at the same time that had reduced the intramuscular collagen deposition. LIT had positively influenced these markers of dystrophic muscle injury on gastrocnemius muscle of mdx model.
KEY WORDS: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Exercise; Skeletal muscle; Collagen.