Maternal exercise before and during gestation modifies liver and muscle mitochondria in rat offspring

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


It is now well established that the intrauterine environment is of major importance for offspring health during later life. Endurance training during pregnancy is associated with positive metabolic adjustments and beneficial effects on the balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants (redox state) in the offspring. Our hypothesis was 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) with 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 versus C offspring (P<0.05). These changes were accompanied by alterations in oxygen consumption. Moreover, the percentage of short-chain fatty acids increased significantly in liver mitochondria from T offspring. This may lead to improvements in the fluidity and the flexibility of the membrane. In plasma, glutathione peroxidase activity and protein oxidation were significantly higher in T offspring than in C offspring (Plt;0.05). Such changes in plasma could represent an adaptive signal transmitted from mothers to their offspring. We thus demonstrated for the first time, to our knowledge, that it is possible to act on bioenergetic function including alterations of mitochondrial function in offspring by modifying maternal physical activity before and during pregnancy. These changes could be crucial for the future health of the offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb194969
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Endurance training
  • Intrauterine environment
  • Offspring
  • Oxidative phosphorylation


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