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Horm Behav. 1995 Jun;29(2):154-76.

Role of the nutritional status of the litter and length and frequency of mother-litter contact bouts in prolonging lactational diestrus in rats.

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  • 1Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.


Food restricting lactating rat dams over the first 2 weeks of lactation results in a prolongation of the period of lactational diestrus. Such food restriction has not only a direct effect on the dam but also the pups are undernourished, and the pattern of dam-litter contact is also changed. In a series of studies, we investigated the effects of nursing undernourished pups and the change in dam-litter interaction on the prolongation of lactational diestrus. While nursing undernourished pups in the last 2 weeks of lactation is sufficient to extend lactational diestrus in ad lib-fed dams nursing well-nourished pups in the last 2 weeks of lactation is not necessary for the prolongation of lactational diestrus seen in food-restricted dams. Further, neither nursing underfed pups nor increased nest time in the first 2 weeks postpartum are necessary factors for the prolongation of lactational diestrus in food-restricted dams.

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