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AbstractExercise epigenetics is a nascent area of research with vast health implications (e.g., from the treatment of obesity-related diseases to beneficially decoupling epigenetic and chronological age). Evidence is accumulating  that exercise can acutely modify the epigenome (e.g., via DNA methylation) for short-term regulatory purposes (e.g., mRNA expression). More speculatively perhaps, maternal exercise during the pre and post–partum period could cause epigenetic changes in offspring. It is generally believed that there are benefits of regular moderate exercise during pregnancy . The phenotypic benefits of maternal exercise notwithstanding, exercise can be viewed as a type of organismal stressor . There are a myriad of ways in which environmental perturbations can affect foetal development. For example gestational stress could alter the epigenome and subsequent physical development. We suggest that maternal exercise -- like most gestational stressors -- will have a dose-response relationship on an offspring’s epigenome (i.e., negative effects at high doses), akin to the phenomenon of hormesis. Interestingly there is no research investigating the epigenetic effects of maternal exercise in humans. This editorial is a call for research on the subject.
CitationChalk T, Brown, W (2014) 'Exercise epigenetics and the foetal origins of disease', Epigenomics, 6 (5), pp.469-472.
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