The physiological adaptations of the neonatal rat to hypoxia from birth include changes in gastrointestinal function and intermediary metabolism. We hypothesized that the hypoxic lactating dam would exhibit alterations in mammary gland function leading to changes in the concentration of milk peptides that are important in neonatal gastrointestinal development. The present study assessed the effects of chronic hypoxia on peptides produced by the mammary glands and present in milk. Chronic hypoxia decreased the concentration of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in expressed milk and pup stomach contents and decreased maternal mammary gland Egf mRNA. The concentration of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrp) was unchanged in milk and decreased in pup stomach contents; however, mammary Pthlh mRNA was increased by hypoxia. There was a significant increase in adiponectin concentrations in milk from hypoxic dams. Chronic hypoxia decreased maternal body weight, and pair feeding normoxic dams an amount of food equivalent to hypoxic dam food intake decreased body weight to an equivalent degree. Decreased food intake did not affect the expression of Egf, Pthlh, or Lep mRNA in mammary tissue. The results indicated that chronic hypoxia modulated mammary function independently of hypoxia-induced decreases in maternal food intake. Decreased EGF and increased adiponectin concentrations in milk from hypoxic dams likely affect the development of neonatal intestinal function.
- Stomach contents
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical