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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1991 Sep;71(3):1015-9.

Effects of maternal exercise on liver and skeletal muscle glycogen storage in pregnant rats.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, Canada.


To examine the effects of maternal exercise on liver and skeletal muscle glycogen storage, female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control, nonpregnant runner, pregnant nonrunning control, pregnant runner, and prepregnant exercised control groups. The exercise consisted of treadmill running at 30 m/min on a 10 degree incline for 60 min, 5 days/wk. Pregnancy alone, on day 20 of gestation, decreased maternal liver glycogen content and increased red and white gastrocnemius muscle glycogen storage above control values (P less than 0.05). In contrast, exercise in nonpregnant animals augmented liver glycogen storage and also increased red and white gastrocnemius glycogen content (P less than 0.05). By combining exercise and pregnancy, the decrease in liver glycogen storage in the pregnant nonexercised condition was prevented in the pregnant runner group and more glycogen was stored in both the red and white portions of the gastrocnemius than all other groups (P less than 0.05). Fetal body weight was greatest (P less than 0.05) in the pregnant runner group and lowest (P less than 0.05) in the prepregnant exercise control group. These results demonstrate that chronic maternal exercise may change maternal glycogen storage patterns in the liver and skeletal muscle with some alteration in fetal outcome.

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