Effect of lactation on maternal postpartum cardiac function and adiposity: A murine model

Aaron T. Poole, Kathleen L. Vincent, Gayle L. Olson, Igor Patrikeev, George R. Saade, Alison Stuebe, Egle Bytautiene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective Lactation is associated with reduction in maternal metabolic disease and hypertension later in life; however, findings in humans may be confounded by socioeconomic factors. We sought to determine the independent contribution of lactation on cardiovascular parameters and adiposity in a murine model. Study Design Following delivery, CD-1 female mice were randomly divided into 2 groups: lactated (L; nursed pups for 3 weeks, n = 10), and nonlactated (NL; pups were removed after birth, n = 12). Blood pressure (BP) was assessed prepregnancy and at 1 and 2 months' postpartum. Visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue determined by computed tomography and left ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac output, and the E/A ratio determined by microultrasound were evaluated at 1 and 2 months' postpartum. The results were analyzed using a Student t test (significance at P <.05).

Results We observed a significantly different maternal BP at 2 months' postpartum with relatively greater BP in NL (systolic BP: NL, 122.2 ± 7.2 vs L, 96.8 ± 9.8 mm Hg; P =.04; diastolic BP: NL, 87.0 ± 6.8 vs L, 65.9 ± 6.2 mm Hg; P =.04). Visceral adipose tissue was significantly increased in NL mice at 1 (22.0 ± 4.1% vs 10.7 ± 1.8%, P =.04) and 2 months' postpartum (22.9 ± 3.5% vs 11.2 ± 2.2%, P =.02), whereas subcutaneous adipose tissue did not differ between the groups. At 2 months' postpartum, ejection fraction (51.8 ± 1.5% vs 60.5 ± 3.8%; P =.04), cardiac output (14.2 ± 1.0 vs 18.0 ± 1.3 mL/min; P =.02) and mitral valve E/A ratio (1.38 ± 0.06 vs 1.82 ± 0.13; P =.04) were significantly lower in NL mice than L mice.

Conclusion Our data provide evidence that interruption of lactation adversely affects postpartum maternal cardiovascular function and adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424.e1-424.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • CD-1 mouse
  • adipose
  • blood pressure
  • lactation
  • maternal health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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