In mice, maternal and paternal exercise affects the metabolic health of their offspring.

A mouse study provides new insights into how maternal and paternal exercise improve offspring metabolic health.

Kristin Stanford, a physiology and cell biology researcher at The Ohio State University College of Medicine's Wexner Medical Center, conducted a mouse study that provides new insights into how maternal and paternal exercise improves the metabolic health of offspring.

The study, led by Laurie Goodyear of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, was published online in the journal Diabetes.

This study used mice to see how their lifestyles (eating fatty foods vs. healthy and exercising vs. not exercising) affected their offspring's metabolites.

Metabolites are substances produced or used by the body when it digests food, drugs, or chemicals, as well as its own fat or muscle tissue. This process, known as metabolism, generates energy and the materials required for growth, reproduction, and health maintenance. Metabolites can be used to diagnose diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"Tissue metabolites, such as glucose or fatty acid metabolism, contribute to overall metabolism, and thus to systemic metabolism. We previously demonstrated that maternal and paternal exercise improve offspring health. Tissue and serum metabolites are important for an organism's health, but how parental exercise affects offspring tissue and serum metabolites has not been studied. This new research adds to the understanding of how maternal or paternal exercise can improve offspring metabolism "Stanford stated this.

Other studies have linked the parents' poor diet to the development of type 2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health. Researchers looked into the effects of parental exercise training in the presence of high-fat feeding on offspring metabolic health in this study.

They used targeted metabolomics (the study of metabolites) to see how maternal exercise, paternal exercise, and the combination of maternal and paternal exercise affected the metabolite profile in offspring liver, skeletal muscle, and blood serum levels.

"We have long been interested in the role of parental exercise in improving the metabolic health of their children. These data are the next step in understanding how this works "Stanford is a member of the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute and the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center at Ohio State.

This study discovered that all types of parental exercise improved whole-body glucose metabolism in offspring as adults, and metabolomics profiling of offspring serum, muscle, and liver revealed that parental exercise has a wide range of effects on all classes of metabolites in all of these offspring tissues.

"Any understanding of how these tissue metabolites are regulated could help us understand how tissue metabolism works and provide some ideas to benefit or improve tissue glucose or fatty acid metabolism. This could eventually lead to the development of new therapeutic tools or metabolic targets "According to Goodyear.

Future research will elucidate the specific role of exercise in mediating these metabolites and determining their role in improving offspring health, particularly in muscle and liver.

The National Institutes of Health provided funding for this study.

Journal Reference: 

Diego Hernández-Saavedra, Christina Markunas, Hirokazu Takahashi, Lisa A. Baer, Johan E. Harris, Michael F. Hirshman, Olga Ilkayeva, Christopher B. Newgard, Kristin I. Stanford, Laurie J. Goodyear. Maternal Exercise and Paternal Exercise Induce Distinct Metabolite Signatures in Offspring Tissues. Diabetes, 2022; 71 (10): 2094 DOI: 10.2337/db22-0341


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