Maternal obesity and diet are critical risk factors for development of obesity and diabetes in both first (F1) and second (F2) generation offspring. Maternal exercise in mice improves F1 metabolic health and prevents the detrimental effects of maternal high-fat-diet (HFD) on F1 offspring. Whether the beneficial effects of maternal exercise can be transmitted to the F2 generation is unknown. Here, C57BL/6 females were fed a chow or HFD and subdivided into cages with (Exercise) or without (Sedentary) running wheels for 2wks before breeding and during ∼3wks gestation. Male F1 offspring were sedentary and chow-fed, and at 8 wks of age were bred with age-matched females from untreated parents. F2 offspring were studied based on grand-maternal treatment: chow sedentary; chow trained; HFD sedentary; HFD trained (n= ∼10 litters/group; 348 total mice). F2 offspring were sedentary and chow-fed and studied up to 52 wks of age. For F2 males, grand-maternal exercise significantly improved glucose tolerance at 24, 36 and 52 wks and decreased insulin concentrations at 52 wks. Grand-maternal exercise also resulted in F2 males with lower body weights, decreased fat mass and increased lean mass at 52wks. Grand-maternal HFD decreased glucose uptake in skeletal muscles and adipose tissue in F2 males, but there was no effect of grand-maternal exercise, suggesting that the mechanism for improved glucose tolerance in F2 males does not involve glucose uptake in these tissues. For female F2, grand-maternal exercise had no effect on insulin concentrations, body weights or tissue glucose uptake. However, grand-maternal exercise significantly improved glucose tolerance in female F2 at 36 and 52 wks, and decreased fat mass and increased lean mass. Maternal exercise has beneficial effects on the metabolic health of adult F2 male and female offspring. These novel findings suggest that maternal exercise can prevent obesity and diabetes in multiple generations and may help reduce the incidence of these diseases worldwide.


A.B.A. Wagner: None. J. Kusuyama: None. P. Nigro: None. N.S. Makarewicz: None. M.F. Hirshman: Stock/Shareholder; Self; Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie Inc., Amgen, Colgate-Palmolive, Eli Lilly and Company, Medtronic. L.J. Goodyear: None.


American Diabetes Association (1-17-PMF-009 to A.B.A.W.); National Institutes of Health (R01DK101043)

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