Serotonin Deficiency Rescues Lactation on Day 1 in Mice Fed a High Fat Diet.

Research paper by Samantha R SR Weaver, Justin C JC Bohrer, Allan S AS Prichard, Paola K PK Perez, Liana J LJ Streckenbach, Jake M JM Olson, Mark E ME Cook, Laura L LL Hernandez

Indexed on: 08 Sep '16Published on: 08 Sep '16Published in: PloS one


Obesity is an inflammatory state associated with delayed lactogenesis stage II and altered mammary gland morphology. Serotonin mediates inflammation and mammary gland involution. The objective of this study was to determine if a genetic deficiency of tryptophan hydroxylase 1, the rate-limiting enzyme in peripheral serotonin synthesis, would result in an improved ability to lactate in dams fed a high fat diet. Twenty-six female mice were fed a high (HFD) or low fat (LFD) diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Fourteen mice were genetically deficient for Tph1 (Tph1-/-), and twelve were wild type. Milk yield, pup mortality, and dam weights were recorded and milk samples were collected. On day 10 of lactation, dams were sacrificed and mammary glands were harvested for RT-PCR and histological evaluation. HFD dams weighed more than LFD dams at the onset of lactation. WT HFD dams were unable to lactate on day 1 of lactation and exhibited increased pup mortality relative to all other treatments, including Tph1-/- HFD dams. mRNA expression of immune markers C-X-C motif chemokine 5 and tumor necrosis factor alpha were elevated in WT HFD mammary glands. Mammary gland histology showed a reduced number of alveoli in WT compared to Tph1-/- dams, regardless of diet, and the alveoli of HFD dams were smaller than those of LFD dams. Finally, fatty acid profile in milk was dynamic in both early and peak lactation, with reduced de novo synthesis of fatty acids on day 10 of lactation in the HFD groups. Administration of a HFD to C57BL/6 dams produced an obese phenotype in the mammary gland, which was alleviated by a genetic deficiency of Tph1. Serotonin may modulate the effects of obesity on the mammary gland, potentially contributing to the delayed onset of lactogenesis seen in obese women.