Grandmaternal exercise improves metabolic health of second-generation offspring

Ana B. Alves-Wagner, Joji Kusuyama, Pasquale Nigro, Krithika Ramachandran, Nathan Makarewicz, Michael F. Hirshman, Laurie J. Goodyear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: A major factor in the growing world-wide epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes is the increased risk of transmission of metabolic disease from obese mothers to both first (F1) and second (F2) generation offspring. Fortunately, recent pre-clinical studies demonstrate that exercise before and during pregnancy improves F1 metabolic health, providing a potential means to disrupt this cycle of disease. Whether the beneficial effects of maternal exercise can also be transmitted to the F2 generation has not been investigated. Methods: C57BL/6 female mice were fed a chow or high-fat diet (HFD) and housed in individual cages with or without running wheels for 2 wks before breeding and during gestation. Male F1 offspring were sedentary and chow-fed, and at 8-weeks of age were bred with age-matched females from untreated parents. This resulted in 4 F2 groups based on grandmaternal treatment: chow sedentary; chow trained; HFD sedentary; HFD trained. F2 were sedentary and chow-fed and studied up to 52-weeks of age. Results: We find that grandmaternal exercise improves glucose tolerance and decreases fat mass in adult F2 males and females, in the absence of any treatment intervention of the F1 after birth. Grandmaternal exercise also improves F2 liver metabolic function, including favorable effects on gene and miRNA expression, triglyceride concentrations and hepatocyte glucose production. Conclusion: Grandmaternal exercise has beneficial effects on the metabolic health of grandoffspring, demonstrating an important means by which exercise during pregnancy could help reduce the worldwide incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101490
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • F2
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Intergenerational effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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