Exposure to flaxseed during lactation does not alter prostate area or epithelium height but changes lipid profile in rats

January 1, 2010 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Exposure to flaxseed during lactation does not alter prostate area or epithelium height but changes lipid profile in rats

Year: 2010
Authors: Ferreira Medeiros, L. Alves Chagas, M. Leal Soares, L. Andrade Troina, A. Teles Bonaventura, G.
Publication Name: Nutr. Hosp.
Publication Details: Volume 25; Number 2; Pages 250 – 255.


Flaxseed intake has increased owing to beneficial effects to health and prevention of diseases. Provided that it�s an important source of lignan, a phytoestrogen, the present study aimed at evaluating the possible effect of the intake of this seed during lactation upon prostate, sexual hormones and lipidic profile of the offspring in adult life. 16 female Wistar rats were used. After delivery, they were divided into two different groups to receive one of the following diets during lactation: Control group (CG), with a casein based diet and Flaxseed group (FG), with a flaxseed based diet containing 25% flaxseed. At weaning, male pups received commercial chow until adult life (170 days old), when they were sacrificed. No differences were perceived concerning offspring food intake and body weight at 170 days. There was a reduction in total cholesterol levels (FG = 45.71 + 8.96 mg/dL; CG = 63.43 � 15.69 mg/dL, p = 0.02) and triglycerides (FG = 54.29 + 11.10 mg/dL; CG = 79.86 + 25.68 mg/dL, p = 0.03). Also, no alterations were observed in prostatic morphology, testosterone or estradiol levels in the two groups analyzed. Flaxseed intake during lactation did not produce histological alterations in prostatic alveolus or in sexual hormones, but programmed to a reduction in lipid profile in adult life with decreased cardiovascular risk. (Authors abstract)
Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary lignans, presenting 100 times more of this compound than any other food. The lignans are thought to exert protective effects by interfering with endogenous sex hormone metabolism. The secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) is the lignan found in flaxseed, precursor of the major mammalian lignans, enterodiol (ED) and enterolactone (EL), which are produced in the presence of bacteria that are naturally present in the colon. ED and EL have chemical structures that are similar to estradiol and can bind to estrogen receptors (ER), nevertheless with less affinity than endogenous estrogen. Prostate growth is a hormone-mediated phenomenon regulated by both androgens and estrogens. The components in flaxseed with potential hormone-like effects can be transferred to nursing offspring via mother�s milk, with the risk of provoking some long term effect in many organs systems. Little literature describes the use of flax during the lactation exclusively. The objective of this study was to evaluate if maternal consumption of flaxseed during lactation programs alterations in prostatic morphology, in sexual hormones and lipidic profile of adult male Wistar rats. The results did not show differences concerning hormonal concentrations in adult animals. The average alveolar area and prostatic total area were similar between CG and FG, implying that maternal exposure to flaxseed does not alter the gland at 170 days of age. This fact can be explained by the unchanged concentrations of estradiol and testosterone after the use of the seed. The results showed reduced cholesterol and triglycerides levels following flax, suggesting that flaxseed programs for cardiovascular protection in adult male. However, this programming mechanism remains to be elucidated and further studies are necessary.  The consumption of 25% flaxseed in the maternal diet during lactation does not yield histological alterations in prostatic alveolus or sexual hormones. However, it may directly interfere with metabolic programming for reduction in plasmatic lipids with decrease in cardiovascular risk in adult life. (Editors comments)

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