The effect of dietary protein concentration throughout gestation and lactation on maternal appetite, and appetite and glucose metabolism of the offspring, was investigated. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed diets containing either 20% whey protein (control; C, n=20) or 5% whey protein (low-protein; LP, n=30) through gestation and lactation. LP mothers gained less weight during gestation (88 vs. 136 g, SED=18, P<0.01), and consumed less food during lactation (451 vs. 902 g, SED=77, P<0.001). C offspring were heavier at birth (6.5 vs. 5.3 g, SED=0.5, P<0.05), consumed more food (273 vs. 178 g, SED=15, P<0.05), and gained weight more rapidly (5.9 vs. 3.7 g/day, SED=0.4, P<0.001) than LP offspring. LP offspring had lower fasted blood glucose at 40 (2.2 vs. 3.5 mmol/L, SED=0.4, P<0.01) and 50 (2.9 vs. 4.8 mmol/L, SED=0.2, P<0.001) days of age and were more sensitive (P<0.001) in response to a glucose challenge at 30 (498 vs. 615 mmol/L min, SED=24), 40 (557 vs. 700 mmol/L min, SED=24) and 50 (535 vs. 781 mmol/L min, SED=44) days of age. These results show that maternal dietary protein concentration during gestation and lactation programs appetite and glucose metabolism in the offspring.

MPG, Barnett, PM Harris, and GJS Cooper

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 45-48, 2003
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