Does 12-weeks of exercise training reduce the risk of infertility in obese femals? A pilot study
Obese females face a number of health challenges, including infertility. Obese females are three times more likely to present with infertility compared to normal weight females. Exercise improves infertility by interacting with hormones specific to reproduction. The hormones leptin and kisspeptin (KiSS) are crucial for reproduction. Research suggests leptin may increase production and secretion of KiSS. KiSS subsequently increases gonadotropin-releasing hormone, activating the menstrual cycle and reproduction. Interestingly, circulating levels of leptin and KiSS are altered in the obese state. Leptin levels significantly increase, whereas KiSS levels decrease. Studies demonstrate increases in leptin cause leptin resistances, which is followed by a decrease in KiSS mRNA concentrations. Exercise is associated with decreases in circulating leptin and infertility, however there is no research examining the changes in KiSS after an exercise intervention. Therefore the purpose of this research was to examine the effects of an exercise intervention on circulating KiSS and leptin levels in obese females. Ten obese females were randomized to an exercise intervention (n=5) or a non-exercise control group (n=5). The exercise intervention group completed a 12-week supervised, progressive, aerobic exercise program that involved walking a treadmill between 65 – 75% of their predicated maximum heart rate. The non-exercise control group maintained their current lifestyle habits. All participants had blood drawn at three different time points; baseline, mid-point and end-point; and KiSS and leptin levels were analyzed. The exercise group had a significant decrease in %BF (p<0.01) compared to the control group from baseline to end-point testing, whereas there was a significant increase in weight (p<0.01) and BMI (p<0.01) in the control group from baseline to mid-point testing. A group main effect for circulating leptin levels was found (p<0.01), however a pairwise comparison between the exercise and control group was not significant (p=0.81). For KiSS there was a main effect of time (p<0.05). Test of Within-Subjects Contrasts indicated that there was a significant decrease in KiSS between baseline and end-point testing (p=0.05). Individual participant data was also graphically represented for weight, leptin and KiSS level. Trends in the data suggest leptin levels in the exercise group corresponded with changes in weight; as weight decreased from baseline to mid-point testing, so did leptin levels. When individual participant KiSS levels were looked at in conjunction with leptin changes over the intervention potential trends did appear. All exercise participants experienced decreases in leptin from baseline to mid-point testing and all but one exercise participant saw increases in KiSS levels during the same time frame. Overall, results support a decrease in %BF in the exercise group compared to the control group. However, there was no evidence to support that an exercise intervention for obese females statistically significantly decreased circulating leptin levels and increases KiSS levels. Although there was a trend for hormone levels to be associated with body fat levels, the small sample size was problematic. A definitive study with increased numbers is now required to elucidate whether the trends become significant.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorRodgers, Carol D.
CommitteeBaxter-Jones, Adam; Pierson, Roger; Doyle-Baker, Patricia
Copyright DateJanuary 2015
Obesity, Reproduction, Exercise