Sean Newcomer


Foods and Nutrition


Dietetics/Nutrition Fitness Health Dual Degree


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. It has been well documented that exercise decreases the occurrence of cardiovascular events. Since the risk of cardiovascular disease development begins in the intrauterine environment, it is critical to assess the role of exercise in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the developing offspring. Previous studies have linked increased disease susceptibility with decreased vascular function. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that maternal exercise during gestation does not have an effect on the vascular smooth muscle cell function of the offspring. Twenty primiparous crossbred gilts were artificially inseminated and randomized into sedentary and exercise groups. The exercised group (n=4) performed 15 weeks of treadmill running. Contrary to our hypothesis, the results demonstrated that offspring from exercised dams had reduced vascular smooth muscle relaxation induced by sodium nitroprusside. This study was the first to investigate the impact of maternal exercise on offspring atherosclerotic disease susceptibility throughout life and potentially determine the origins of cardiovascular disease. Future studies should investigate the underlying causes of these alterations in the vascular smooth muscle cells.