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Cow milk does not affect adiposity in growing piglets as a model for children

Swanson, Katherine, Kutzler, Michelle, Bionaz, Massimo
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.6 pp. 4798-4807
adipocytes, adipose tissue, adiposity, backfat, childhood obesity, children, euthanasia, fat thickness, feed intake, histology, males, maltodextrins, milk, milk consumption, models, neck, piglets, puberty
The effect of milk consumption on childhood obesity is unclear and a direct demonstration of an association is needed. In the present study, we used piglets as a model for prepubertal children to determine the effect of milk on adipose tissue. Two studies were conducted: study 1 with 5-wk-old male piglets (n = 8) and study 2 with 8- to 9-wk-old male piglets (n = 12). The piglets were fed a normal growing diet and randomly assigned to receive daily either 750 mL of whole cow milk or an isocaloric maltodextrin solution (control). For approximately 12 wk, body weight, feed intake, and subcutaneous back fat thickness were determined ultrasonographically and recorded. At euthanasia, back and neck fat thicknesses were measured and samples of back fat were collected for adipose histology. In study 1, but not study 2, piglets receiving milk grew more and ate more compared with control. In study 1, both back fat and neck fat thickness were greater in the milk-fed piglets and they had a higher frequency of small adipocytes and a lower frequency of intermediate and large adipocytes compared with controls. In study 2, control pigs had a significantly greater frequency of intermediate adipocytes but the milk-fed piglets tended to have a higher frequency of the largest adipocytes. In conclusion, milk has no apparent causal or consistent effect on adipose tissue in growing piglets.