Maternal obesity is known to predispose the offspring to impaired glucose metabolism and obesity associated with low-grade inflammation and hypothalamic dysfunction. Because preventive approaches in this context are missing to date, we aimed to identify molecular mechanisms in the offspring that are affected by maternal exercise during pregnancy.Methods
Diet-induced obese mouse dams were divided into a sedentary obese (high-fat diet [HFD]) group and an obese intervention (HFD–running intervention [RUN]) group, which performed voluntary wheel running throughout gestation. Male offspring were compared with the offspring of a sedentary lean control group at postnatal day 21.Results
HFD and HFD-RUN offspring showed increased body weight and white adipose tissue mass. Glucose tolerance testing showed mild impairment only in HFD offspring. Serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, hypothalamic and white adipose tissue IL-6 gene expressions, and phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in HFD offspring were significantly increased, whereas HFD-RUN was protected against these changes. The altered hypothalamic global gene expression in HFD offspring showed partial normalization in HFD-RUN offspring, especially with respect to IL-6 action.Conclusion
Maternal exercise in obese pregnancies effectively reduces IL-6 trans-signaling and might be the underlying mechanism for the amelioration of glucose metabolism at postnatal day 21 independent of body composition.