Objectives : Maternal diet in the perinatal period can program health of adult offspring. This study evaluates the consequences of maternal dietary protein quality and quantity during gestation and lactation on overweight risk in female offspring subjected to dietary self-selection (DSS).
Methods : Six groups of rat dams were fed a high-protein (HP; 47% protein) or normal protein (NP; 19% protein) isocaloric diet during gestation. Protein sources of HP and NP diets were either milk (M), pea (P), or turkey (T)-derived. During lactation, dams were fed NP diet containing the protein source as fed during pregnancy. From postnatal day (PND)28 to 70, pups (n=8 per group) were exposed to DSS with a choice between five cups containing either: HP-M, HP-P, HP-T diets, or only carbohydrates or only lipids. Pups’ weight gain and food intake were recorded daily. Body composition, fasting plasma insulin and leptin levels were assessed at the end of the study (PND70).
Results : During lactation, pups’ weight gain was lower in the “turkey and pea” compared to “milk” group (p< 0.0001), resulting in a lower weight gain in the “pea” compared to “milk” group at the end of the lactation period (PND28; p< 0.0001). Body weight gain from PND28 to 70 was also lower in the “pea and turkey “compared to “milk” group (p< 0.0001). Total food intake throughout the postweaning period, was lower in the “pea and turkey” compared to “milk” group (p< 0.05). At PND70, body composition was affected by (i) the maternal protein source showing a lower adipose tissue weight in the “pea and turkey” compared to “milk” group (p = 0.01), but also by (ii) the maternal protein quantity showing increased adipose tissue weight (≥ 16%) in HP compared to NP gestation groups (p=0.03) (figure 1), regardless of the protein source in the maternal diet. In accordance with the increased adipose tissue weight in HP groups, fasting plasma leptin levels were significantly higher in HP compared to NP gestation groups (p< 0.05). Plasma insulin levels were not affected.
Dietary protein source during gestation and lactation directly affected weight gain of the offspring after weaning and at adulthood. HP diet during gestation resulted in a higher adiposity in the offspring, independent of the protein source.
Funding Sources :
This thesis work was partly funded by Danone Nutricia Research.