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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SAFEGUARDING WELL-BEING OF FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Mothers' exercise during pregnancy programs vasomotor function in adult offspring

Authors
item Bahls, Martin -
item Sheldon, Ryan -
item Taheripour, Pardis -
item Clifford, Kerry -
item Foust, Kallie -
item Breslin, Emily -
item Marchant-Forde, Jeremy
item Cabot, Ryan -
item Laughlin, M. Harold -
item Bidwell, Christopher -
item Newcomer, Sean -

Submitted to: Experimental Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 14, 2013
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Citation: Bahls, M., Sheldon, R.D., Taheripour, P., Clifford, K.A., Foust, K.B., Breslin, E.D., Marchant Forde, J.N., Cabot, R.A., Laughlin, M., Bidwell, C.A., Newcomer, S.C. 2014. Mothers' exercise during pregnancy programs vasomotor function in adult offspring. Experimental Physiology. 99(1):205-219.

Interpretive Summary: In 2008 one-third of all deaths in America were due to cardiovascular disease. This disease was thought to be predominantly associated with the aging population. However, recent reports about atherosclerotic lesions in adolescents, children and infants challenge this perception and provide evidence that the intrauterine environment may alter susceptibility to cardiovascular disease. Maternal over- or undernutrition during pregnancy can influence the offspring’s feed consumption, behavior and metabolism. However, knowledge regarding potentially positive maternal health behaviors during pregnancy is currently limited. Exercise is a well-known intervention for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in children and adults, and exercise in mothers during pregnancy may convey protective effects on the developing fetus that has long-lasting effects after birth. Therefore, the aim of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that maternal exercise during pregnancy would improve function of femoral arteries of pigs at 3 (pre-pubertal), 5 (pubertal), and 9 months (post-pubertal) of age. We hypothesized that altered feed consumption, spontaneous activity, liver gene expression, and blood lipid profile would contribute to the improved vascular health of the offspring from exercise trained mothers. We compared offspring from sedentary sows with offspring from sows that were trained during gestation to run on a treadmill. We found that exercise did not affect feed consumption, activity, liver gene expression, and blood lipid profile. However, alterations in vascular function were observed at 3, 5,and 9 months of age. Therefore, maternal exercise during pregnancy may provide a stimulus sufficient enough in strength to induce artery specific programming in offspring and have long-term impacts on cardiovascular health.

Technical Abstract: Background: The intrauterine environment is influenced by maternal behavior and known to influence lifelong atherosclerotic disease susceptibility in offspring. The purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that maternal exercise during pregnancy increases endothelial function in offspring. Methods: A total of 15 pubertal gilts, six months of age were randomly assigned to an exercise (n=7) or sedentary (n=8) group throughout pregnancy. Exercise consisted of treadmill running for 20-45 minutes, five times per week, for all but the last week of gestation. Offspring feed consumption, voluntary cage activity, hepatic gene expression, blood lipid profile, and vascular function were assessed. Vascular reactivity was measured using dose-dependent endothelium-dependent (bradykinin (BK); 10-11 –10-6 M) and –independent (sodium nitroprusside (SNP); 10-10 – 10-4 M) vasorelaxation in femoral arteries of offspring at 3, 5, and 9 months of age using in vitro wire-myography. Results: Exercise had no significant effect on litter weight. There were no significant differences between groups for feed consumption, voluntary cage activity, hepatic gene expression, and blood lipid profile. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between groups in BK relaxation. However, exercise during pregnancy had a main effect on SNP relaxation (p=0.01) and a significant age x treatment interaction (p<0.05) which was manifested by a decreased relaxation response in offspring of exercised trained compared to sedentary gilts at 3 (p<0.01), 5 (p<0.05), and 9 months (p<0.05) of age. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that exercise for the finite duration of pregnancy has long lasting functional effects on vascular smooth muscle without altering offspring feed consumption, behavior, hepatic gene expression, and blood lipid profile.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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