Background & aims: Mounting evidence indicates that maternal exercise confers protection to adult offspring against various diseases. Here we hypothesized that maternal exercise during gestation would reduce high-fat diet (HFD)-induced hepatic steatosis in adult rat offspring.
Methods: Following conception, pregnant dams were divided into either voluntary wheel running exercise (GE) or wheel-locked sedentary (GS) groups throughout gestation (days 4-21). Post-weaning, offspring received either normal chow diet (CD; 10% fat, 70% carbohydrate, 20% protein) or HFD (45% fat, 35% carbohydrate, and 20% protein) until sacrificed at 4- or 8-months of age.
Results: GE did not affect offspring birth weight or litter size. HFD feeding in offspring increased weight gain, body fat percentage, and glucose tolerance test area under the curve (GTT-AUC). Male offspring from GE dams had reduced body fat percentage across all ages (p<0.05). In addition, 8-month male offspring from GE dams were protected against HFD-induced hepatic steatosis, which was associated with increased markers of hepatic mitochondrial biogenesis (PGC-1α and TFAM), autophagic potential (ATG12:ATG5 conjugation) and hepatic triacylglycerol secretion (MTTP).
Conclusions: The current study provides the first evidence that gestational exercise can reduce susceptibility to HFD-induced hepatic steatosis in adult male offspring.
Keywords: Fetal origins; NAFLD; Rat.
Copyright © 2015 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.