, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 65-75
Date: 15 Oct 2009

Maternal Protein Restriction During Early Lactation Induces Changes on Neutrophil Activation and TNF-α Production of Adult Offspring

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Maternal nutritional environmental in early life has been often associated with long term effects on the immune response in adulthood. The effects of maternal protein deprivation during early lactation on neutrophil-mediated innate immunity were investigated in adult rats, offspring of dams fed with a protein-free diet during the first days of lactation (PD), and compared to controls (22% protein diet). Inflamed PD animals showed an inhibited neutrophil migration and an impaired recruitment of leukocytes from bone marrow pool to circulation. In resting conditions, blood neutrophils from PD present reduced phagocytic activity, increased production of O2 and NO, basal iNOS expression and constitutive NF-κB activation. Moreover, PD rats also show high circulating levels of TNF-α and increased expression of TNF-α mRNA in the spleen and liver. The data indicate that maternal nutritional stress can interfere on the innate immune response in adulthood, imprinting permanent alterations on cytokine production and neutrophil activation.