Background: Choline is essential for synthesis of phospholipids, neurodevelopment, and DNA methylation. It is unknown whether dietary perinatal choline deficiency affects maternal milk composition.
Objective: We examined whether perinatal maternal dietary choline deficiency influences porcine-milk composition.
Methods: Yorkshire sows were fed choline-deficient (CD) or choline-sufficient (CS) gestation diets [544 or 1887 mg choline/kg dry matter (DM), respectively] from 65 d before to 48 h after parturition and then fed lactation diets (517 or 1591 mg choline/kg DM, respectively) through day 19 of lactation. Milk was collected from 7 sows fed each diet at days 0 (colostrum), 7–9 (mature milk), and 17–19 (preweaning) of lactation. Sow plasma was collected 65 d before and 19 d after parturition. Milk was analyzed for choline metabolite, fatty acid (FA), and amino acid composition. All outcomes were analyzed to assess main and interactive effects of choline intake and time.
Results: Plasma choline metabolites did not differ before treatment, but free choline, betaine, and dimethylglycine concentrations were lower in CD-fed than in CS-fed sows at day 19 of lactation (interaction; P < 0.05). Milk betaine concentrations responded similarly, with no differences due to choline intake at day 0 of lactation, but lower concentrations in CD-fed than in CS-fed sows at day 18 of lactation (interaction; P < 0.001). Certain milk long-chain FAs also exhibited no differences at day 0 of lactation but higher concentrations in CD-fed than in CS-fed sows at day 18 of lactation (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: These data indicate that, in pigs, dietary choline deficiency induces alterations in plasma choline metabolites which are evident at the end of lactation. Betaine and select FAs in milk are sensitive to maternal dietary choline deficiency and day of lactation. Alterations in concentrations of these nutrients may affect early-life neonatal development.
Austin T Mudd, Lindsey S Alexander, Stacey K Johnson, Caitlyn M Getty, Olga V Malysheva, Marie A Caudill, and Ryan N Dilger. Perinatal Dietary Choline Deficiency in Sows Influences Concentrations of Choline Metabolites, Fatty Acids, and Amino Acids in Milk throughout Lactation. Journal of Nutrition. First published October 12, 2016, doi: 10.3945/jn.116.238832