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Limits to sustained energy intake. XXX. Constraint or restraint? Manipulations of food supply show peak food intake in lactation is constrained

Published on Jan 1, 2020in The Journal of Experimental Biology3.017
· DOI :10.1242/JEB.208314
Zhi-Jun Zhao9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Wenzhou University),
Davina Derous7
Estimated H-index: 7
+ 5 AuthorsJohn R. Speakman82
Estimated H-index: 82
Sources
Abstract
Lactating mice increase food intake 4-5 fold, reaching an asymptote in late lactation. A key question is whether this asymptote reflects a physiological constraint, or a maternal investment strategy (a ‘restraint’). We exposed lactating mice to periods of food restriction, hypothesizing that if the limit reflected restraint they would compensate by breaching the asymptote when refeeding. In contrast, if it was a constraint they would by definition be unable to increase their intake on refeeding days. Using isotope methods we found that during food restriction the females shut down milk production impacting offspring growth. During refeeding food intake and milk production rose again, but not significantly above unrestricted controls. Hypothalamic transcriptome profiling showed that following restriction lactating mice did not upregulate transcription of genes in the hunger signaling network, suggesting this may impose the constraint. These data provide strong evidence that asymptotic intake in lactation reflects a physiological/physical constraint, rather than restraint. Because hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (Npy) was upregulated under both states of restriction this suggests the constraint is not imposed by limits in the capacity to upregulate hunger signaling (the saturated neural capacity hypothesis). Understanding the genetic basis of the constraint will be a key future goal and will provide us additional information on the nature of the constraining factors on reproductive output, and their potential links to life history strategies.
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Acknowledgements We are grateful to Ke-Xin Chen, Song Tan and Jing Cao (Wenzhou University) for care of the animals. We thank Dr. Teresa G. Valencak (Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria) for her assistance with the body temperature measurements using the thermo-sensitive passive transponders. We thank Peter Thomson (University of Aberdeen) for his technical assistance with the isotope analysis for the DLW measurements. This work was supported...
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We would like to thank the animal house staff and all members of the Energetics group for their invaluable help at various stages throughout the project. This work was supported by Natural Environment Research Council grant (NERC, NE/C004159/1). YG was supported by a scholarship from the rotary foundation. LV was supported by a Rubicon grant from the Netherlands Scientific Organisation (NWO).
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