Fetal Programming and Human Physical Performance

Summary

Principal Investigator: Tom Brutsaert
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Fetal Programming Hypothesis posits that intrauterine nutritional stress produces small/thin babies at birth (i.e., low birth weight (BW) and low ponderal index, PI, kg/m3) and results in a permanent re-programming of metabolism which increases risk for certain chronic diseases into adulthood, including diabetes type 2, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. For example, individuals born at low BW show a tendency towards insulin resistance and increased adiposity at the expense of lean body mass. However, notably absent are fetal programming studies that have focused on human physical performance (exercise) outcomes and the response to training. This research has the aim of addressing the dearth of information in this area by evaluating the association of BW with baseline exercise measures and the response to training. Performance measures will include maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), muscle strength, muscle fatigue rate, and the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during strenuous exercise. In addition, we will assess the response of each of these measures to an 8-week training program designed to increase both muscle strength and cardio-respiratory fitness. We will also measure body composition via hydro-densitometry and insulin resistance via an oral glucose tolerance test, both before and after training. Subjects will be untrained and recruited as either low birth-weight (LOW-BW<2,500 grams, n=32) or normal birth-weight (NORM-BW, n=32) from the distribution of potential male and female subjects in our target population with normal gestational age. This project has relevance for the public health as human physical performance outcomes both affect and are affected by proximal disease risk factors like body composition. As a consequence, our research will broaden the fetal programming perspective considerably and may help to explain how early life experience relates to future chronic disease risk. This project will test the hypothesis that early life in-utero experience affects human physical performance in adulthood (i.e., exercise performance), including the normal response to physical training, body composition, and insulin resistance. This research has clear relevance for the public health, as fetal programming has been linked to various adult cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine disorders. Project Summary: The Fetal Programming Hypothesis posits that intrauterine nutritional stress produces small/thin babies at birth (i.e., low birth weight (BW) and low ponderal index, PI, kg/m3) and results in a permanent re-programming of metabolism which increases risk for certain chronic diseases into adulthood, including diabetes type 2, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. For example, individuals born at low BW show a tendency towards insulin resistance and increased adiposity at the expense of lean body mass. However, notably absent are fetal programming studies that have focused on human physical performance (exercise) outcomes and the response to training. This research has the aim of addressing the dearth of information in this area by evaluating the association of BW with baseline exercise measures and the response to training. Performance measures will include maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), muscle strength, muscle fatigue rate, and the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during strenuous exercise. In addition, we will assess the response of each of these measures to an 8-week training program designed to increase both muscle strength and cardio-respiratory fitness. We will also measure body composition via hydro-densitometry and insulin resistance via an oral glucose tolerance test, both before and after training. Subjects will be untrained and recruited as either low birth-weight (LOW-BW<2,500 grams, n=32) or normal birth-weight (NORM-BW, n=32) from the distribution of potential male and female subjects in our target population with normal gestational age. This project has relevance for the public health as human physical performance outcomes both affect and are affected by proximal disease risk factors like body composition. As a consequence, our research will broaden the fetal programming perspective considerably and may help to explain how early life experience relates to future chronic disease risk. Project Narrative This project will test the hypothesis that early life in-utero experience affects human physical performance in adulthood (i.e., exercise performance), including the normal response to physical training, body composition, and insulin resistance. This research has clear relevance for the public health, as fetal programming has been linked to various adult cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine disorders.
Funding Period: 2008-02-15 - 2010-01-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi The effect of intra-uterine growth restriction on blood lipids and response to exercise training
    Jessica G Redmond
    Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244
    Am J Hum Biol 25:844-6. 2013
  2. pmc Low ponderal index is associated with decreased muscle strength and fatigue resistance in college-aged women
    Tom D Brutsaert
    Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 43244 5040, USA
    Early Hum Dev 87:663-9. 2011

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications2

  1. ncbi The effect of intra-uterine growth restriction on blood lipids and response to exercise training
    Jessica G Redmond
    Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244
    Am J Hum Biol 25:844-6. 2013
    ..To determine if a small body size at birth is associated with an unfavorable metabolic profile and a reduced response to exercise training in young adults...
  2. pmc Low ponderal index is associated with decreased muscle strength and fatigue resistance in college-aged women
    Tom D Brutsaert
    Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 43244 5040, USA
    Early Hum Dev 87:663-9. 2011
    ..Indirectly, results also implicate muscle as a potential mediator between poor fetal growth and adult chronic disease, given muscle's direct role in determining insulin resistance, type II diabetes, physical activity, and so forth...