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The Beneficial Effects of Early Short-Term Exercise in the Offspring of Obese Mothers are Accompanied by Alterations in the Hypothalamic Gene Expression of Appetite Regulators and FTO (Fat Mass and Obesity Associated) Gene

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 15:21 authored by Vanni CarusoVanni Caruso, Bahari, H, Morris, MJ
Maternal overnutrition is implicated in the development of adult metabolic disease, and has been shown to alter the expression of genes involved in energy homeostasis. In the present study, we aimed to test whether a short period of voluntary exercise, followed by a sedentary period, would regulate hypothalamic markers involved in appetite. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either normal chow or high-fat diet (HFD) ad lib. for 5 weeks, mated and continued on their assigned diet during gestation/lactation. At weaning males, were separated into chow or HFD groups; half were exercised (running wheels), whereas the remainder were sedentary. At week 10, wheels were removed and rats remained sedentary for 5 weeks, prior to tissue collection. Maternal obesity increased offspring adiposity at 15 weeks and this was exacerbated by postnatal HFD (P < 0.05). Body weight and fat mass were reduced in offspring of obese mothers if they exercised, and this was maintained even after 5 weeks without exercise. At 15 weeks, fasting plasma insulin, leptin and triglyceride concentrations were significantly reduced by exercise in offspring of lean and obese mothers consuming chow, with little benefit in those consuming HFD. Hypothalamic mRNA expression of pro-opiomelanocortin was increased by exercise but only in offspring of lean mothers. Exercise reduced hypothalamic FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) mRNA in offspring of lean dams regardless of diet. A short period of exercise early in life had lasting beneficial effects on body weight, adiposity and hormone profile of male offspring from obese and lean dams, despite being followed by a period of inactivity. The effects of exercise on hypothalamic appetite regulators were more marked in offspring of lean dams.


Publication title

Journal of Neuroendocrinology










School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2013 British Society for Neuroendocrinology

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions