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Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010118

Reducing Pup Litter Size Alters Early Postnatal Calcium Homeostasis and Programs Adverse Adult Cardiovascular and Bone Health in Male Rats

1
Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Australia
2
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, LaTrobe University, Bundoora 3083, Australia
3
Department of Food and Wine Science, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, FOODplus Research Centre, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5064, Australia
4
Child Health Research Centre and School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4101, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Life Nutrition and Future Health)
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Abstract

The in utero and early postnatal environments play essential roles in offspring growth and development. Standardizing or reducing pup litter size can independently compromise long-term health likely due to altered milk quality, thus limiting translational potential. This study investigated the effect reducing litter size has on milk quality and offspring outcomes. On gestation day 18, dams underwent sham or bilateral uterine vessel ligation surgery to generate dams with normal (Control) and altered (Restricted) milk quality/composition. At birth, pups were cross-fostered onto separate dams with either an unadjusted or reduced litter size. Plasma parathyroid hormone-related protein was increased in Reduced litter pups, whereas ionic calcium and total body calcium were decreased. These data suggest Reduced litter pups have dysregulated calcium homeostasis in early postnatal life, which may impair bone mineralization decreasing adult bone bending strength. Dams suckling Reduced litter pups had increased milk long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid. Reduced litter pups suckled by Normal milk quality/composition dams had increased milk omega-6 linoleic and arachidonic acids. Reduced litter male adult offspring had elevated blood pressure. This study highlights care must be taken when interpreting data from research that alters litter size as it may mask subtle cardiometabolic health effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: reduced litter size; postnatal calcium homeostasis; adult bone health; milk composition reduced litter size; postnatal calcium homeostasis; adult bone health; milk composition
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Briffa, J.F.; O’Dowd, R.; Romano, T.; Muhlhausler, B.S.; Moritz, K.M.; Wlodek, M.E. Reducing Pup Litter Size Alters Early Postnatal Calcium Homeostasis and Programs Adverse Adult Cardiovascular and Bone Health in Male Rats. Nutrients 2019, 11, 118.

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