The first thing that newborn pups are exposed to and eat establishes their native gut microbiota.
But it remains unclear to researchers how a lactating mother’s diet affects her pups.
In a recent paper published in Cell Host & Microbe, researchers found that when lactating mice were fed a low-fiber diet, the gut microbiota of their offspring was permanently altered, which in turn led to intestinal inflammation and obesity.
The researchers gave the nursing mothers two different diets, a standard fiber-balanced diet commonly used in mouse studies and a low-fiber diet.
After 3 weeks, the researchers weaned the pups and analyzed their microbiome through fecal samples.
The results showed that both the pups and the mothers fed the low-fiber diet contained high levels of amoebae compared to the mice fed the conventional diet.
With the altered microbiota, the intestinal tracts of both mothers and pups were disturbed, and the weight of the pups almost doubled.
And the pups fed to the mothers on a low-fiber diet had lasting effects on the disrupted intestinal flora.
Nine weeks after weaning and feeding on a conventional diet, these mice still had abnormally high levels of metazoan bacteria in their intestines and their weight continued to increase.