Indexed on: 10 Mar '12Published on: 10 Mar '12Published in: PloS one
Delay in the onset of lactogenesis has been shown to occur in women who are obese, however the mechanism altered within the mammary gland causing the delay remains unknown. Consumption of high fat diets (HFD) has been previously determined to result decreased litters and litter numbers in rodent models due to a decrease in fertility. We examined the effects of feeding a HFD (60% kcal from fat) diet versus a low-fat diet (LFD; 10% kcal from fat) to female Wistar rats on lactation outcomes. Feeding of HFD diet resulted in increased pup weights compared to pups from LFD fed animals for 4 d post-partum. Lactation was delayed in mothers on HFD but they began to produce copious milk volumes beginning 2 d post-partum, and milk yield was similar to LFD by day 3. Mammary glands collected from lactating animals on HFD diet, displayed a disrupted morphologies, with very few and small alveoli. Consistently, there was a significant decrease in the mRNA expression of milk protein genes, glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) and keratin 5 (K5), a luminobasal cell marker in the mammary glands of HFD lactating animals. Expression of tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1), the rate-limiting enzyme in serotonin (5-HT) biosynthesis, and the 5-HT(7) receptor (HTR7), which regulates mammary gland involution, were significantly increased in mammary glands of HFD animals. Additionally, we saw elevation of the inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF- α). These results indicate that consumption of HFD impairs mammary parenchymal tissue and impedes its ability to synthesize and secrete milk, possibly through an increase in 5-HT production within the mammary gland leading to an inflammatory process.