Nine days of intensive exercise training improves mitochondrial function but not insulin action in adult offspring of mothers with type 2 diabetes

Brian A. Irving, Kevin R. Short, K. Sreekumaran Nair, Craig S. Stump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Context: A close association between insulin resistance and reduced skeletal muscle oxidative capacity has been reported in adult offspring of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D), prompting a hypothesis that insulin resistance may result from mitochondrial dysfunction or vice versa. Objective: We determined whether 9 d of intensive exercise training ameliorates the mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance in offspring of T2D. Methods: We compared the response to 9 d of intensive exercise training in eight (seven females, one male) healthy adult offspring of mothers with T2D with eight (six females, two males) non-diabetic controls. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial ATP production was assessed using a luciferase-based assay, and insulin sensitivity was measured using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. Results: Short-term intensive training increased skeletal muscle mitochondrial ATP production and citrate synthase activity similarly in both groups (P < 0.01). In contrast, whereas short-term intensive training reduced the fasting glucose (∼5%, P = 0.035) and insulin levels (∼40%, P = 0.011) as well as increased the glucose infusion rate during the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (∼50%, P = 0.028) among controls, no changes in these parameters were observed among offspring except for an increase in fasting glucose (∼7%, P = 0.004). Conclusion: A short-term intensive exercise training program was equally effective at increasing skeletal muscle oxidative capacity in nondiabetic people and in the offspring of mothers with diabetes. In contrast, the exercise improved insulin sensitivity only in nondiabetic people but not in the offspring of T2D mothers, revealing dissociation between improvements in skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity. The exercise effect on mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity seems to be mediated by different regulatory pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1137-E1141
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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