Biology

Maternal exercise before and during gestation modifies liver and muscle mitochondria in rat offspring [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

Farida Siti, Herve Dubouchaud, Isabelle Hininger, Charline Quiclet, Guillaume Vial, Anne Galinier, Louis Casteilla, Eric Fontaine, Cecile Batandier, and Karine Couturier

It is now well established that the intrauterine life environment is of major importance for health during later life. Endurance training during pregnancy is associated with positive metabolic adjustments and beneficial effects on the balance between pro and antioxidant (redox state) in the offspring. Our hypothesis is that these changes could rely on mitochondrial adaptations in the offspring due to modifications of the fetal environment induced by maternal endurance training.

Therefore, we compared the liver and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and the redox status of young rats whose mothers underwent moderate endurance training (treadmill running) before and during gestation (T) to those of young rats from untrained mothers (C).

Our results show a significant reduction in the spontaneous H2O2 release by liver and muscle mitochondria in the T vs. C rats (p<0.05). These changes are accompanied by alterations in oxygen consumption. Moreover, the percentage of short chain fatty acids increased significantly, in liver mitochondria from T rats. This may lead to improve the fluidity and the flexibility of the membrane.

In plasma, GPX activity and protein oxidation are significantly higher in T rats compared to C rats (p<0.05). Such changes in plasma could represent an adaptive signal transmitted from mothers to their offspring.

We demonstrated for the first time, to our knowledge, that it is possible to act on the bioenergetic functionning including alterations of the mitochondrial function in the offspring by modifying maternal physical activity before and during pregnancy. These changes could be crucial for the future health of the offspring.

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