Maternal obesity predisposes offspring to adulthood morbidities, including type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance have been associated with shortened telomere length. First, we aimed to investigate whether or not maternal obesity influences insulin sensitivity and its relationship with leucocyte telomere length (LTL) in elderly women. Second, we tested whether or not resistance exercise training improves insulin sensitivity in elderly frail women.
Forty-six elderly women, of whom 20 were frail offspring of lean/normal weight mothers (OLM, BMI ≤26.3 kg/m2) and 17 were frail offspring of overweight/obese mothers (OOM,BMI ≥28.1 kg/m2), were studied before and after a 4 month resistance training (RT) intervention. Muscle insulin sensitivity of glucose uptake was measured using 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose and positron emission tomography with computed tomography during a hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp. Muscle mass and lipid content were measured using magnetic resonance and LTL was measured using real-time PCR.
The OOM group had lower thigh muscle insulin sensitivity compared with the OLM group (p=0.048) but similar whole body insulin sensitivity. RT improved whole body and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in the OOM group only (p=0.004 and p=0.013, respectively), and increased muscle mass in both groups (p <0 .01). In addition, in the OOM group, LTL correlated with different thigh muscle groups insulin sensitivity (ρ ≥ 0.53; p ≤ 0.05). Individuals with shorter LTL showed a higher increase in skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity after training (ρ ≥ −0.61; p ≤ 0.05).
Maternal obesity and having telomere shortening were associated with insulin resistance in adult offspring. A resistance exercise training programme may reverse this disadvantage among offspring of obese mothers. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01931540.