, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 231-241

Adaptations of Maternal Adipose Tissue to Lactation

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The ability to store substantial amounts of energy as lipid in adipose tissue has allowed development of a variety of strategies in wild animals to meet the considerable metabolic challenge of lactation. The ability to use adipose tissue energy has also been critical for development of the exceptional rates of milk production achieved in the dairy cow. Lactation thus results in profound changes in adipose tissue metabolism, the molecular bases of which are beginning to be resolved in domestic ruminants and laboratory rodents. In addition to its role as an energy store, adipose tissue has a variety of other functions (e.g., modulation of mammary development, appetite, immune system function), some of which are important for lactation.