Coffee intake during pregnancy and lactation in rats: Maternal and pup hematological parameters and liver iron, zinc and copper concentration

L. Munoz, Carl L Keen, B. Lonnerdal, K. G. Dewey

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To study the effects of maternal coffee intake on trace element status of the fetus and newborn, Sprague-Dawley female rats were fed a control purified diet and were provided ad libitum a freeze-dried coffee solution (1.5% wt/vol) (C) or distilled water (W) as their sole source of liquids from d 0 of gestation. On d 21 of gestation, a subsample of dams from each group was killed and litters were removed for examination. At birth, a subsample of litters from each group was cross-fostered to differentiate between pre- and postnatal exposure to coffee (water prenatally, coffee postnatally = WC; coffee prenatally, water postnatally = CW). Food and fluid intake during gestation, maternal weight gain and litter size were similar in the coffee and control groups, but pup birth weight was lower in the coffee group than in the control group (5.82 vs. 6.45 g, P < 0.05). Compared with that of control pups, hemoglobin (Hb) was significantly lower in C and WC pups, but not in CW pups, at 3 and 14 d of age. Hematological values were not significantly different between C and W dams or C and W fetuses. Livers of C and WC pups had higher concentrations and total content of Fe, Zn and Cu at 3 d of age compared with controls, but the differences were reduced by 14 d of age. The results suggest that maternal coffee intake may impair mobilization of trace elements from liver reserves in early life and that this may result in reduced hemoglobin synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1333
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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