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Research Article

The Dietary Protein/Carbohydrate Ratio Differentially Modifies Lipogenesis and Protein Synthesis in the Mammary Gland, Liver and Adipose Tissue during Gestation and Lactation



Abstract

During gestation and lactation, a series of metabolic changes that are affected by the diet occurs in various organs of the mother. However, little is known about how the dietary protein (DP)/carbohydrate (DCH) ratio regulates the expression of metabolic genes in the mother. Therefore, the purpose of this work was to study the effect of consuming different percentages of DP/DCH, specifically 10/73, 20/63 and 30/53%, on the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis and protein synthesis in the mammary gland, liver and adipose tissue during gestation and lactation in dams. While the amount of weight gained during gestation was similar for all groups, only dams fed with 30/53% DP/DCH maintained their weight during lactation. In the mammary gland, the expression of the genes involved in lipogenesis, specifically SREBP1 and FAS, was dramatically increased, and the expression of the genes involved in protein synthesis, such as mTOR1, and the phosphorylation of its target protein, S6K, were also increased throughout pregnancy and lactation, regardless of the concentration of DP/DCH. In the liver and adipose tissue, the expression of the genes and proteins involved in lipid metabolism was dependent on the proportion of DP/DCH. The consumption of a low-protein/high-carbohydrate diet increased the expression of lipogenic genes in the liver and adipose tissue and the amount of lipid deposition in the liver. Conversely, the consumption of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet increased the expression of genes involved in amino acid oxidation in the liver during gestation. The metabolic adaptations reflected by the changes in the expression of metabolic genes indicate that the mammary gland has a priority for milk synthesis, whereas the adaptations in the liver and adipose tissue are responsible for providing nutrients to the mammary gland to sustain milk synthesis.


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