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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #426606

Research Project: Critical Windows in the Developmental Programming of Physical Exercise by Nutrition

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Project Number: 3092-51000-061-10-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2014
End Date: Mar 31, 2019

Objective 1: Determine the effects of nutrition during critical window(s) of development on voluntary physical activity (PA) during late adolescence and middle age using mouse models of intrauterine or postnatal under- and over-nutrition. Subobjective 1A: Determine the effects of protein restriction during pre- or early postnatal life on PA during late adolescence and in mature adults. Subobjective 1B: Determine if postnatal rates of catch-up growth following intrauterine protein restriction alter voluntary PA during late adolescence and in mature adults. Subobjective 1C: Determine if exposure to an obesogenic environment during prenatal and/or postnatal life alters voluntary PA during late adolescence and in mature adults. Objective 2: Determine the relative contributions of skeletal muscle mass, composition and contractile properties, exercise capacity, motor coordination, and behavior to the differences in voluntary physical activity induced by the nutritional perturbations incurred in early life. Subobjective 2A: Assess cardio-respiratory function and skeletal muscle properties of adolescent and mature adult mice exposed to a protein-restricted or obesogenic environment during gestation and/or the suckling period. Subobjective 2B: Evaluate how exposure to an adverse nutritional environment during gestation or the suckling period alters motor coordination and behavior in adolescent and mature adult mice. Objective 3: Determine the changes in gene and protein expression in skeletal and cardiac muscle and/or brain that contribute to the physical activity phenotypes induced by alterations in early life.

Physical activity (PA) is critical for maintenance of optimal health throughout life. Moreover, PA is being increasingly prescribed for the treatment of many metabolic and endocrine diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. While there is extensive research on the influence of lifestyle and the physical and social environment on voluntary PA, it is emerging from epidemiological studies that the nutritional environment of the developing organism also can program voluntary PA in childhood and adulthood. Studies with mouse models will be used to evaluate forced exercise and measure an interaction of physical capacity for exercise dictated primarily by peripheral factors, and emotional factors that are provoked by stress. We will also perform global gene expression analyses on the organs/tissues implicated in the responses. Identification of differences in candidate pathways or processes and/or cellular components that could produce functional changes relevant to the activity and behavior phenotypes identified will be interrogated further by analyzing protein expression and relevant post-translational modifications. This information is critical for the identification of populations who are at risk for reduced PA, and for the design of individualized interventions that are more likely to be effective in producing positive outcomes.