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Dietary Arginine Supplementation during Gestation and Lactation Increases Milk Yield and Mammary Lipogenesis in Rats

Abstract : ABSTRACT Background Arginine, an essential amino acid during the reproductive period, has been shown to enhance lactation performances in livestock. Whether it could help mothers with breastfeeding difficulties is not known. Objectives This study aimed to determine whether dietary arginine supplementation would enhance milk production in rat dams nursing large 12-pup litters and, if so, what mechanisms are involved. Methods In 3 series of experiments, differing in dam killing timing, 59 primiparous, pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (mean ± SD weight: 254 ± 24.7 g) were randomly assigned to receive either 1) an AIN-93G diet supplemented with l-arginine at 2.0% (ARG diet), through lactation and gestation (AGL group); 2) a control AIN-93G diet including at 3.5% an isonitrogenous mix of amino acids that are not essential for lactation (MA diet), during gestation and lactation (MA group); or 3) the MA diet during gestation and the ARG diet during lactation (AL group). Milk flow was measured using deuterated water enrichment between days 11 and 18. Plasma hormones and mammary expression of genes involved in lactation were measured using ELISA and qRT-PCR, respectively, at lactation days 12, 18, or 21 in the 3 experiments. Data were analyzed by ANOVA. Results Dam food intake, pup weight gain, milk flow normalized to dam weight, and milk fat concentration were 17%, 9%, 20%, and 20% greater in the AGL group than in the MA group, respectively (P < 0.05). Genes involved in lipogenesis and lipid regulation were overexpressed ≤2.76-fold in the mammary gland of AGL dams compared with MA dams (P < 0.05) and plasma leptin concentration was 39% higher (P = 0.008). Milk flow and composition and mammary gene expression of the AL group did not differ from those of the MA group, whereas milk fat concentration and flow were 26% and 37% lower than in the AGL group, respectively. Conclusions Arginine supplementation during gestation and lactation enhances milk flow and mammary lipogenesis in rats nursing large litters.
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Contributor : Clair-Yves Boquien <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 18, 2021 - 10:12:47 AM
Last modification on : Monday, June 21, 2021 - 5:20:03 PM




Thomas Sevrin, Charlène Sirvins, Agnès David, Audrey Aguesse, Alexis Gandon, et al.. Dietary Arginine Supplementation during Gestation and Lactation Increases Milk Yield and Mammary Lipogenesis in Rats. Journal of Nutrition, American Society for Nutrition, 2021, pp.1-11. ⟨10.1093/jn/nxab152⟩. ⟨hal-03264334⟩



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