Amino acid composition and isoflavone are alleged contributors to the beneficial effects of soy protein isolate (SPI) on lipid metabolism. Therefore, we investigated the contributing component(s) of SPI in a maternal diet to the regulation of lipid metabolism in offspring. We also determined serum parameters in dams to investigate specific maternal cues that might be responsible for this regulation. Female rats were fed either a casein (CAS), a low-isoflavone SPI, or a casein plus genistein (GEN, 250 mg/kg) diet for two weeks before mating, as well as during pregnancy and lactation. Male offspring (CAS, SPI and GEN groups) were studied 21 days after birth. The SPI group had lower serum triglyceride levels than the other groups. Serum cholesterol was reduced in both the SPI and GEN groups compared with the CAS group. Expressions of target genes of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α were altered in the SPI group. Serum aromatic amino acid levels in dams were associated with serum triglyceride in offspring. In conclusion, the maternal consumption of a low-isoflavone SPI diet or a casein diet containing genistein has different effects on the lipid metabolism of their offspring; however, more profound effects were observed in the SPI group. Therefore, the altered lipid metabolism of offspring may be attributed to amino acid composition in maternal dietary protein sources.
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