Key points: Maternal training during gestation enhances offspring body composition and energy substrates handling in early adulthood. Offspring nutrition also plays a role as some beneficial effects of maternal training during gestation disappear after consumption of a high-fat diet. Abstract: Maternal exercise during gestation has been reported to modify offspring metabolism and health. Whether these effects are exacerbated when offspring are receiving a high-fat diet remains unclear. Our purpose was to evaluate the effect of maternal exercise before and during gestation on the offspring fed a high-fat/high-sucrose diet (HF) by assessing its body composition, pancreatic function and energy substrates handling by two major glucose-utilizing tissues: liver and muscle. Fifteen-week-old nulliparous female Wistar rats exercised 4 weeks before as well as during gestation at a constant submaximal intensity (TR) or remained sedentary (CT). At weaning, pups from each group were fed either a standard diet (TRCD or CTCD) or a high-fat/high-sucrose diet (TRHF or CTHF) for 10 weeks. Offspring from TR dams gained less weight compared to those from CT dams. Selected fat depots were larger with the HF diet compared to control diet (CD) but significantly smaller in TRHF compared to CTHF. Surprisingly, the insulin secretion index was higher in islets from HF offspring compared to CD. TR offspring showed a higher muscle insulin sensitivity estimated by the ratio of phosphorylated protein kinase B to total protein kinase B compared with CT offspring (+48%, P < 0.05). With CD, permeabilized isolated muscle fibres from TR rats displayed a lower apparent affinity constant (Km) for pyruvate and palmitoyl coenzyme A as substrates compared to the CT group (−46% and −58%, respectively, P < 0.05). These results suggest that maternal exercise has positive effects on young adult offspring body composition and on muscle carbohydrate and lipid metabolism depending on the nutritional status.
- insulin sensitivity