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Supplemental arginine above the requirement during suckling causes obesity and insulin resistance in rats

Otani, Lila, Mori, Tomomi, Koyama, Ayaka, Takahashi, Shin-Ichiro, Kato, Hisanori
Nutrition research 2016 v.36 pp. 575-585
adults, arginine, blood glucose, breast milk, free amino acids, glucose, glycine (amino acid), high fat diet, infants, insulin, insulin resistance, lactation, obesity, progeny, pups, rats, risk, suckling, threonine, visceral fat
Nutrition in early life is important in determining susceptibility to adult obesity, and arginine may promote growth acceleration in infants. We hypothesized that maternal arginine supplementation may promote growth in their pups and contribute to obesity and alteration of the metabolic system in later life. Dams and pups of Wistar rats were given a normal diet (15% protein) as a control (CN) or a normal diet with 2% arginine (ARG). Altered profiles of free amino acids in breast milk were observed in that the concentrations of threonine and glycine were lower in the ARG dams compared with the CN dams. The offspring of the CN and ARG dams were further subdivided into normal-diet (CN-CN and ARG-CN) groups and a high fat–diet groups (CN-HF and ARG-HF). In response to the high fat–diet feeding, the visceral fat deposits were significantly increased in the ARG-HF group (although not compared with the CN-HF group); no difference was observed between the CN-CN and ARG-CN groups. The blood glucose and insulin levels after glucose loading were significantly higher in the ARG-HF group compared with the CN-HF group. The results suggest that the offspring of dams supplemented with arginine during lactation acquired increased susceptibility to a high-fat diet, resulting in visceral obesity and insulin resistance. The lower supply of threonine and glycine to pups may be one of the contributing causes to the programming of lifelong obesity risk in offspring. Our findings also indicated that maternal arginine supplementation during suckling causes obesity and insulin resistance in rats.