Effects of Dietary Protein Intake On Lactation Performance of The Laboratory Mouse, Mus Musculus
Laboratory mice (strain MF1) were used to investigate the effects of dietary protein content on lactation performance to test the heat dissipation limit hypothesis. The specific dynamic action (SDA) for high protein (HP) and high carbohydrate (HC) diets was measured using open-flow respirometry at 9.4% and 6.1%, respectively. The same two diets were fed ad libitum to mice during lactation. Mice fed on HP and HC diets at 21 ºC reached a plateau in their daily food intake at 12.3±0.2 g day-1 and 16.6±0.2 g day-1, respectively between days 12-17 of lactation. HP-fed mice had a significantly higher daily energy expenditure (DEE) measured by doubly labelled water and higher water turnover than HC-fed mice but the energy they exported as milk was significantly lower than that of HC-fed mice and therefore resulted in poor growth rate of their offspring. The urea production of HP-fed mice from their daily protein intake of 7.1 g was estimated at 1994 mg which required 10.2 mls of water per day to be cleared. The mice increased their urine production by 14.4 mls probably to eliminate this urea. High protein diet had negative effects on lactation, indicating the growth of pups in previous studies was not protein limited. The negative effects of the HP diet were due to the high DEE that greatly reduced the energy available for milk production, rather than a toxicity effect of the urea production. The different DEE of the two diets suggests that other factors were involved in the delivery of energy to the offspring.