Endurance exercise ameliorates low birthweight developed catch-up growth related metabolic dysfunctions in a mouse model

Endocr J. 2016;63(3):275-85. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ15-0479. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


Low birthweight is known to predict high risk of metabolic diseases in adulthood, while regular endurance exercises are believed sufficient to improve metabolic dysfunction. In this study, we established a mouse model to determine whether long-term exercise training could ameliorate catch-up growth, and we explored the possible underlying mechanisms. By restricting maternal food intake during the last week of gestation, we successfully produced low birthweight pups. Further, normal birthweight mice and low birthweight mice were randomly distributed into one of three groups receiving either a normal fat diet, high fat diet, or high fat diet with exercise training. The growth/metabolism, mitochondrial content and functions were assessed at 6 months of age. Through group comparisons and correlation analyses, the 4th week was demonstrated to be the period of crucial growth and chosen to be the precise point of intervention, as the growth rate at this point is significantly correlated with body weight, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT), Lee's index and fat mass in adulthood. In addition, regular endurance exercises when started from 4 weeks remarkably ameliorated low birthweight outcomes and induced catch-up growth and glucose intolerance in the 25th week. Furthermore, real-time PCR and western blot results indicated that the effect of long-term exercise on mitochondrial functions alleviated catch-up related metabolic dysfunction. To conclude, long-term exercise training from the 4th week is sufficient to ameliorate catch-up growth and related metabolic disturbances in adulthood by promoting mitochondrial functions in skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Glucose Intolerance / etiology
  • Glucose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Glucose Intolerance / prevention & control*
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Growth Disorders / metabolism
  • Growth Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / enzymology
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism
  • Motor Activity
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Physical Endurance
  • Random Allocation
  • Weight Gain