1. Dystrophin-deficient hindlimb muscles of mdx mice undergo necrosis at the time of weaning when the motor activity of the mice greatly increases and muscle energy metabolism becomes more dependent on insulin and carbohydrates.
2. We have attempted to determine if the onset of myofibre necrosis in mdx mice at the time of weaning is related to the development of motor activity and/or the change in diet.
3. Fourteen-day-old mdx mice were divided into two groups after weaning. One group was trained to run on a treadmill and the other group was kept on a high-fat diet. Muscle necrosis was assessed histologically in the soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles of mice in both experiments.
4. Keeping mice on a high-fat milk diet from the time of weaning up to 42 days of age did not influence the occurrence of necrosis in the soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles of the mdx pups. In contrast, treadmill exercise greatly increased necrosis in both muscles.
5. We conclude that an increase in motor activity exacerbates the degeneration of hindlimb muscles of mdx mice at the time of weaning.