General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Genetics redux......sort of Rss Feed  
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2013-10-31 11:42 AM

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Subject: Genetics redux......sort of

I know there are a few doctors on this board, along with folks who do some medical testing/experiments, etc.  Some buds and I had a pretty good discussion last night while watching the ballgame.....and part of the discussion ended up centered around the idea of the possibility that a mother who does a lot of aerobic exercise while pregnant can help produce children with an inherent ability to build a big aerobic/lung capacity......and although we all had some ideas and experiences to draw on, it was pretty clear that none of us really knew if it had a benefit or not.  So......has anyone studied this?  Are there any old studies?  Is it possible that a mother's aerobic work can be beneficial to the aerobic system of her child in utero? (is that the right word?    )



2013-10-31 12:00 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Cool question. From a strictly genetic standpoint, no, but there's a catch. She can pass on genes and mutations that are associated with things like skeletal muscles (ACTN3) and and endurance (ACE), but exercising is not going to change her genome. Now, it can change how and to what extent genes are turned off or on with out changing the actual gene codes, through a mechanism known as epigenetics. 

There's evidence that epigenetic inheritance occurs. One example is that if the mother has gestational diabetes. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself. I have seen one article: Sports Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):93-110. Epigenetics in sports. Ehlert T, Simon P, Moser DA. It's not a journal I normally get, so I have to pull it down at work.

2013-10-31 12:03 PM
in reply to: BrianRunsPhilly


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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of
Wow. Good question, and great answer. Thanks.....I may pull that article to check it out.
2013-10-31 12:04 PM
in reply to: BrianRunsPhilly

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Cool question. From a strictly genetic standpoint, no, but there's a catch. She can pass on genes and mutations that are associated with things like skeletal muscles (ACTN3) and and endurance (ACE), but exercising is not going to change her genome. Now, it can change how and to what extent genes are turned off or on with out changing the actual gene codes, through a mechanism known as epigenetics. 

There's evidence that epigthedenetic inheritance occurs. One example is that if the mother has gestational diabetes. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself. I have seen one article: Sports Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):93-110. Epigenetics in sports. Ehlert T, Simon P, Moser DA. It's not a journal I normally get, so I have to pull it down at work.

Thanks. 

So......when a mother works out aerobically ALOT during pregnancy, does the baby's HR also become elevated?  And if it does, that has no bearing on future oxygen carrying capacity in the child?

2013-10-31 12:12 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of
doesn't seem like it worked for me
2013-10-31 12:15 PM
in reply to: Leegoocrap

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Originally posted by Leegoocrap doesn't seem like it worked for me

 

 



2013-10-31 12:22 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Cool question. From a strictly genetic standpoint, no, but there's a catch. She can pass on genes and mutations that are associated with things like skeletal muscles (ACTN3) and and endurance (ACE), but exercising is not going to change her genome. Now, it can change how and to what extent genes are turned off or on with out changing the actual gene codes, through a mechanism known as epigenetics. 

There's evidence that epigthedenetic inheritance occurs. One example is that if the mother has gestational diabetes. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself. I have seen one article: Sports Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):93-110. Epigenetics in sports. Ehlert T, Simon P, Moser DA. It's not a journal I normally get, so I have to pull it down at work.

Thanks. 

So......when a mother works out aerobically ALOT during pregnancy, does the baby's HR also become elevated?  And if it does, that has no bearing on future oxygen carrying capacity in the child?

I would think whatever benefits are gained by the fetus would be lost fairly rapidly. If she works out too hard, the fetus actually becomes starved for oxygen.

Effects of acute and chronic maternal exercise on fetal heart rate
K. A. Webb, L. A. Wolfe, and M. J. McGrath

School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Abstract
Maternal-fetal effects of cycle ergometer conditioning (heart rate of 145 beats/min at 25 min/day for 3 days/wk) were studied during the second and third pregnancy trimesters. Subjects were 22 previously sedentary women and 16 nonexercising pregnant control women. Fetal heart rate (FHR) characteristics were studied before, during, and after 15 min of upright cycling at a maternal heart rate target of 145 beats/min at the end of both the second and third trimesters. Despite higher cycling power outputs in the exercised group, mean FHR responses were similar in both groups and conformed to 1) gradual increase in FHR baseline during exercise, 2) normal variability, and 3) normal reactivity. Fetal bradycardia was observed during (n = 1) and after (n = 2) exercise in three isolated tests. The timing of these events suggested that the likelihood of significant fetal hypoxia is highest in the immediate postexercise period. These results also support the hypothesis that physically conditioned women can perform at higher exercise power outputs than sedentary women without inducing fetal hypoxic stress. Further study is recommended to examine possible fetal and placental adaptations to maternal aerobic conditioning.

2013-10-31 12:27 PM
in reply to: BrianRunsPhilly

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

By the way, thanks for sending me down this rabbit hole. First thing I did at the office was pull down the paper.

What's really interesting is that there's some evidence that one of the effects of PED's is inducing long-term epigenetic changes. Immediately I thought of creating a test. It would be extremely sensitive, but a lot of research would have to be done. I've always wondered if there was a way to make a living doing genetic testing for athletic ability. There's a couple companies marketing such tests already.

2013-10-31 12:28 PM
in reply to: BrianRunsPhilly

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Cool question. From a strictly genetic standpoint, no, but there's a catch. She can pass on genes and mutations that are associated with things like skeletal muscles (ACTN3) and and endurance (ACE), but exercising is not going to change her genome. Now, it can change how and to what extent genes are turned off or on with out changing the actual gene codes, through a mechanism known as epigenetics. 

There's evidence that epigthedenetic inheritance occurs. One example is that if the mother has gestational diabetes. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself. I have seen one article: Sports Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):93-110. Epigenetics in sports. Ehlert T, Simon P, Moser DA. It's not a journal I normally get, so I have to pull it down at work.

Thanks. 

So......when a mother works out aerobically ALOT during pregnancy, does the baby's HR also become elevated?  And if it does, that has no bearing on future oxygen carrying capacity in the child?

I would think whatever benefits are gained by the fetus would be lost fairly rapidly. If she works out too hard, the fetus actually becomes starved for oxygen.

Effects of acute and chronic maternal exercise on fetal heart rate
K. A. Webb, L. A. Wolfe, and M. J. McGrath

School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Abstract
Maternal-fetal effects of cycle ergometer conditioning (heart rate of 145 beats/min at 25 min/day for 3 days/wk) were studied during the second and third pregnancy trimesters. Subjects were 22 previously sedentary women and 16 nonexercising pregnant control women. Fetal heart rate (FHR) characteristics were studied before, during, and after 15 min of upright cycling at a maternal heart rate target of 145 beats/min at the end of both the second and third trimesters. Despite higher cycling power outputs in the exercised group, mean FHR responses were similar in both groups and conformed to 1) gradual increase in FHR baseline during exercise, 2) normal variability, and 3) normal reactivity. Fetal bradycardia was observed during (n = 1) and after (n = 2) exercise in three isolated tests. The timing of these events suggested that the likelihood of significant fetal hypoxia is highest in the immediate postexercise period. These results also support the hypothesis that physically conditioned women can perform at higher exercise power outputs than sedentary women without inducing fetal hypoxic stress. Further study is recommended to examine possible fetal and placental adaptations to maternal aerobic conditioning.

Man Brian, I was hoping you'd chime in....thanks!  So.....in reference to the bolded part....are there any further studies to read?

2013-10-31 12:47 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of

Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by BrianRunsPhilly

Cool question. From a strictly genetic standpoint, no, but there's a catch. She can pass on genes and mutations that are associated with things like skeletal muscles (ACTN3) and and endurance (ACE), but exercising is not going to change her genome. Now, it can change how and to what extent genes are turned off or on with out changing the actual gene codes, through a mechanism known as epigenetics. 

There's evidence that epigthedenetic inheritance occurs. One example is that if the mother has gestational diabetes. High glucose levels trigger epigenetic changes in the daughter's DNA, increasing the likelihood that she will develop gestational diabetes herself. I have seen one article: Sports Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):93-110. Epigenetics in sports. Ehlert T, Simon P, Moser DA. It's not a journal I normally get, so I have to pull it down at work.

Thanks. 

So......when a mother works out aerobically ALOT during pregnancy, does the baby's HR also become elevated?  And if it does, that has no bearing on future oxygen carrying capacity in the child?

I would think whatever benefits are gained by the fetus would be lost fairly rapidly. If she works out too hard, the fetus actually becomes starved for oxygen.

Effects of acute and chronic maternal exercise on fetal heart rate
K. A. Webb, L. A. Wolfe, and M. J. McGrath

School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Abstract
Maternal-fetal effects of cycle ergometer conditioning (heart rate of 145 beats/min at 25 min/day for 3 days/wk) were studied during the second and third pregnancy trimesters. Subjects were 22 previously sedentary women and 16 nonexercising pregnant control women. Fetal heart rate (FHR) characteristics were studied before, during, and after 15 min of upright cycling at a maternal heart rate target of 145 beats/min at the end of both the second and third trimesters. Despite higher cycling power outputs in the exercised group, mean FHR responses were similar in both groups and conformed to 1) gradual increase in FHR baseline during exercise, 2) normal variability, and 3) normal reactivity. Fetal bradycardia was observed during (n = 1) and after (n = 2) exercise in three isolated tests. The timing of these events suggested that the likelihood of significant fetal hypoxia is highest in the immediate postexercise period. These results also support the hypothesis that physically conditioned women can perform at higher exercise power outputs than sedentary women without inducing fetal hypoxic stress. Further study is recommended to examine possible fetal and placental adaptations to maternal aerobic conditioning.

Man Brian, I was hoping you'd chime in....thanks!  So.....in reference to the bolded part....are there any further studies to read?

Before I answer, let me post my hourly consulting rate

I did a quick scan of PubMed. So far all the studies I saw were in mice and rats. There's an association of maternal exercise to lean body mass and glucose tolerance, but only in male offspring.

2013-10-31 1:28 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Genetics redux......sort of
I don't have any experience in a related field, but I listened to a show on the radio once
When I took biology in in high school (circa 1978) the current understanding would have stated that a baby's lung capacity is an inherited trait, and would therefore not be influenced by the lung capacity that is acquired by its mother as a result of exercise.

However, with epigenetics, I think that the line between inherited and acquired is not so clear cut anymore. Here's a definition of epigenetics from the link below.

"epigenetics can be defined as the set of chemical modifications surrounding and attaching to our genetic material that change the ways genes are switched on or off, but don’t alter the genes themselves."

http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/142195/beyond-dna-epigene...

The Dutch famine in 1944 is an example that I have heard cited a few times. Children of parents that experienced the famine grew up to be smaller than average. This occurred despite the fact that these individuals did not experience above average hardship during their own lifetime, and their basic genetic coding wasn't altered by the experience of their parents. Instead the genes of the children were expressed differently as a result of the experiences of their parents.

I can imagine that hardship experienced by a child's mother might have a negative impact on the child's lung capacity. I find it harder to imagine that exercise by Mom will help to produce more athletic offspring. But who knows?
Don


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