Maternal brown fat metabolism returns to control level by four weeks postweaning in rats

B. J. Moore, T. Inokuchi, Barbara A Horwitz, J. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We studied body composition, white and brown adipose tissue cellularity, lipoprotein lipase activity and metabolic enzyme activity in three groups of rats: nonpregnant controls, lactating dams and nonlactating dams (i.e., dams not permitted to suckle their young). Nine to 11 rats in each group were killed on d 12 postpartum (study d 34) and on d 40 postpartum (study d 62). During lactation, brown fat citrate synthase, β-hydroxyacylCoA dehydrogenase (HOAD) and lipoprotein lipase activities were significantly lower in the lactating than in the nonlactating dams or virgin controls. Although the nonlactating dams had their pups removed within 24 h after delivery, by d 12 postpartum citrate synthase and HOAD activities were significantly lower than those of nonpregnant controls. By the end of the study there were no differences among the three groups except in the case of HOAD. HOAD activity in the lactation group was significantly lower than in the nonlactation group. White fat cell number in the parametrial depot was significantly increased in the nonlactation groups by d 12 postpartum. In the lactation group, increased white fat cell number in this depot was detectable at d 40 postpartum, when carcass fat stores and fat cells had been repleted. These results demonstrate that both lactating and nonlactating dams undergo cellular hyperplasia, at least in the parametrial depot. This may predispose them to obesity. Also, decreased brown fat metabolism in the nonlactating dams may be contributing to their significantly greater carcass fat content at d 12 postpartum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1992-1998
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989


  • brown fat
  • carcass composition
  • female rats
  • Food intake
  • lactation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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