Pregnancy and lactation alter vitamin a metabolism and kinetics in rats under vitamin a-adequate dietary conditions

Yaqi Li, Ayasa Tajima, Floyd J. Mattie, Michael H. Green, A. Catharine Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Vitamin A (VA) plays critical roles in prenatal and postnatal development; however, limited information is available regarding maternal VA metabolism during pregnancy and lactation. Objectives: We investigated the impact of pregnancy and lactation on VA metabolism and kinetics in rats, hypothesizing that changes in physiological status would naturally perturb whole-body VA kinetics. Methods: Eight-week old female rats (n = 10) fed an AIN-93G diet received an oral tracer dose of3H-labeled retinol to initiate the kinetic study. On d 21 after dosing, six female rats were mated. Serial blood samples were collected from each female rat at selected times after dose administration until d 14 of lactation. Model-based compartmental analysis was applied to the plasma tracer data to develop VA kinetic models. Results: Our compartmental model revealed that pregnancy resulted in a gradual increase in hepatic VA mobilization, presumably to support different stages of fetal development. Additionally, the model indicates that during lactation, VA derived from dietary intake was the primary source of VA delivered to the mammary gland for milk VA secretion. Conclusion: During pregnancy and lactation in rats with an adequate VA intake and previous VA storage, the internal redistribution of VA and increased uptake from diet supported the maintenance of VA homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2853
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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