Our previous studies demonstrated that lauric acid (LA) stimulated mammary gland development during puberty. However, the roles of LA on lactation in mice remain indeterminate. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary LA supplementation on lactation functioning and to study the potential mechanisms during lactation. in vivo, there was no effect of 1% LA dietary supplementation during lactation on the feed intake or body weight of breast-feeding mice. However, maternal LA supplementation significantly expanded the number of mammary gland alveoli of mice during lactation and the average body weight of the offspring, suggesting that LA supplementation enhanced the development and lactation function of the mammary glands. in vitro, 100 μM of LA significantly increased the content of triglycerides (TG) in the cell supernatant of induced HC11 cells, however, with no effect on the expression of the genes associated with fatty acid synthesis. LA also activated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) signaling pathway. LA dietary supplementation significantly expanded the serum levels of lipid metabolites, including sphingomyelin and other metabolites with the sn-2 position of C12 and sn-1 position of C18 in the TG of the lactating mice. Taken together, dietary supplementation of LA during lactation could promote the lactation function of mice, which might be related to increasing the development of the mammary glands and alternation of serum lipid metabolites. These findings provided more theoretical and experimental basis for the application of lauric acid in the development of mammary glands and lactation function of lactating animals.
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