Is mammary output capacity limiting to lactational performance in mice?

Kimberly A. Hammond, Kevin C K Lloyd, Jared Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using lactation in mice as a model, we sought to determine whether ceilings on sustained energy expenditure reside in the capacities of energy-acquiring and input organs (such as the intestine) or of energy-expending and output organs (such as the mammary glands). To distinguish between these possibilities experimentally, we surgically varied the teat number of lactating mother mice while simultaneously varying their litter size. The energy burden on each teat (i.e. the pup/teat ratio) could thus be varied independently of the energy burden (i.e. litter size) on the mother herself or on her intestine. At each teat number, pup mass proved to be maximal at intermediate litter sizes. At a given pup/teat ratio, mothers with five teats weaned pups no larger than the pups of normal (10-teat) mothers, even though the total energy burden on the former mothers was only half as large. Mothers with only two teats could not wean any pups. Litter size controlled maternal food intake, which in turn controlled intestinal mass and nutrient uptake capacity. Disproportionately high food intake for the smallest litters appears to reflect capital start-up costs of lactation. Pup mass is evidently limited by inadequate suckling stimulation of mammary glands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-349
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume199
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996

Fingerprint

Litter Size
teats
breasts
pups
litter size
Breast
mice
Human Mammary Glands
Lactation
Intestines
energy
lactation
Eating
food intake
mammary glands
Energy Metabolism
suckling
intestines
Economics
Mothers

Keywords

  • Energy output
  • Lactation
  • Mammary glands
  • Mouse
  • Mus musculus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Is mammary output capacity limiting to lactational performance in mice? / Hammond, Kimberly A.; Lloyd, Kevin C K; Diamond, Jared.

In: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 199, No. 2, 02.1996, p. 337-349.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hammond, Kimberly A. ; Lloyd, Kevin C K ; Diamond, Jared. / Is mammary output capacity limiting to lactational performance in mice?. In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 1996 ; Vol. 199, No. 2. pp. 337-349.
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