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Paternal exercise improves metabolic health of offsprings

Paternal exercise improves metabolic health of offsprings

Men planning to have children in the near future should exercise regularly for sake of offsprings.

A new study published in the journal Diabetes has found that paternal exercise has a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring that continues even in their adulthood.

Recent studies have linked the development of type 2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health to the parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring.

Kristin I. Stanford, a physiology and cell biology researcher with The Ohio State University College of Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center, and colleagues conducted the study to determine the effects of paternal exercise on sperm and offspring metabolic health.

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“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine.

For the study, the research team used a mouse model and fed male mice either a normal diet or a high-fat diet for three weeks. Some mice from each diet group were sedentary and some exercised freely. After three weeks, the mice bred and their offspring ate a normal diet under sedentary conditions for a year.

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Key Findings:

  • Offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect.
  • When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet,  improved metabolic health in their adult offspring was observed.
  • Exercise caused changes in the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppress poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring.
  • Adult offspring from sires who exercised had improved glucose metabolism decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass.

“We saw a strong change in their small-RNA profile. Now we want to see exactly which small-RNAs are responsible for these metabolic improvements, where it’s happening in the offspring and why,” Stanford said.

Previous studies from this group have shown that when mouse mothers exercise, their offspring also have beneficial effects of metabolism.

The researchers believe the results support the hypothesis that small RNAs could help transmit parental environmental information to the next generation.

“There’s potential for this to translate to humans. We know that in adult men obesity impairs testosterone levels, sperm number, and motility, and it decreases the number of live births,” Stanford said. “If we ask someone who’s getting ready to have a child to exercise moderately, even for a month before conception, that could have a strong effect on the health of their sperm and the long-term metabolic health of their children.”

“We provide the first in-depth analysis of small RNAs in sperm from exercise-trained males, revealing marked change in the levels of multiple small RNAs with the potential to alter phenotypes in the next generation,” concluded the authors.

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Source: With inputs from Diabetes

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