Lactational programming? Mother's milk energy predicts infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Katherine Hinde, John P. Capitanio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are many aspects of "mothering" that may provide information to the mammalian infant about environmental conditions during critical periods of development. One essential element of mothering involves the quantity and quality of milk that mothers provide for their infants, but little is known about the consequences of variation in milk production. Mother's milk may affect infant behavior by contributing to brain development and to the development of behavioral dispositions. Here we present the first evidence for any mammal that natural variation in available milk energy (AME) from the mother is associated with later variation in infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, N5 59). In the early postnatal period, heavier mothers with more reproductive experience produced greater AME, which is the product of milk energy density (kcal/g) and milk yield (g). Moreover, infants whose mothers produced greater AME in the early postnatal period showed higher activity levels and greater confidence in a stressful setting later in infancy. Our results suggest that the milk energy available soon after birth may be a nutritional cue that calibrates the infant's behavior to environmental or maternal conditions. These data provide new insight into potential mechanisms for the development of behavior and temperament and illuminate new directions for investigating maternal effects, nutritional programming, and developmental plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-529
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Volume72
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

temperament
Macaca mulatta
milk
energy
postpartum period
milk quality
energy density
infancy
maternal effect
dairy products
milk yield
milk production
infant
mammals
brain
environmental factors
plasticity
mammal
environmental conditions

Keywords

  • Behavioral syndromes
  • Infant development
  • Lactation
  • Nutritional programming
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Lactational programming? Mother's milk energy predicts infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). / Hinde, Katherine; Capitanio, John P.

In: American Journal of Primatology, Vol. 72, No. 6, 06.2010, p. 522-529.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{222fbca0d5bc48a1a5bcaa69a1a70818,
title = "Lactational programming? Mother's milk energy predicts infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)",
abstract = "There are many aspects of {"}mothering{"} that may provide information to the mammalian infant about environmental conditions during critical periods of development. One essential element of mothering involves the quantity and quality of milk that mothers provide for their infants, but little is known about the consequences of variation in milk production. Mother's milk may affect infant behavior by contributing to brain development and to the development of behavioral dispositions. Here we present the first evidence for any mammal that natural variation in available milk energy (AME) from the mother is associated with later variation in infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, N5 59). In the early postnatal period, heavier mothers with more reproductive experience produced greater AME, which is the product of milk energy density (kcal/g) and milk yield (g). Moreover, infants whose mothers produced greater AME in the early postnatal period showed higher activity levels and greater confidence in a stressful setting later in infancy. Our results suggest that the milk energy available soon after birth may be a nutritional cue that calibrates the infant's behavior to environmental or maternal conditions. These data provide new insight into potential mechanisms for the development of behavior and temperament and illuminate new directions for investigating maternal effects, nutritional programming, and developmental plasticity.",
keywords = "Behavioral syndromes, Infant development, Lactation, Nutritional programming, Personality",
author = "Katherine Hinde and Capitanio, {John P.}",
year = "2010",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1002/ajp.20806",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "72",
pages = "522--529",
journal = "American Journal of Primatology",
issn = "0275-2565",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Inc.",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Lactational programming? Mother's milk energy predicts infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

AU - Hinde, Katherine

AU - Capitanio, John P.

PY - 2010/6

Y1 - 2010/6

N2 - There are many aspects of "mothering" that may provide information to the mammalian infant about environmental conditions during critical periods of development. One essential element of mothering involves the quantity and quality of milk that mothers provide for their infants, but little is known about the consequences of variation in milk production. Mother's milk may affect infant behavior by contributing to brain development and to the development of behavioral dispositions. Here we present the first evidence for any mammal that natural variation in available milk energy (AME) from the mother is associated with later variation in infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, N5 59). In the early postnatal period, heavier mothers with more reproductive experience produced greater AME, which is the product of milk energy density (kcal/g) and milk yield (g). Moreover, infants whose mothers produced greater AME in the early postnatal period showed higher activity levels and greater confidence in a stressful setting later in infancy. Our results suggest that the milk energy available soon after birth may be a nutritional cue that calibrates the infant's behavior to environmental or maternal conditions. These data provide new insight into potential mechanisms for the development of behavior and temperament and illuminate new directions for investigating maternal effects, nutritional programming, and developmental plasticity.

AB - There are many aspects of "mothering" that may provide information to the mammalian infant about environmental conditions during critical periods of development. One essential element of mothering involves the quantity and quality of milk that mothers provide for their infants, but little is known about the consequences of variation in milk production. Mother's milk may affect infant behavior by contributing to brain development and to the development of behavioral dispositions. Here we present the first evidence for any mammal that natural variation in available milk energy (AME) from the mother is associated with later variation in infant behavior and temperament in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, N5 59). In the early postnatal period, heavier mothers with more reproductive experience produced greater AME, which is the product of milk energy density (kcal/g) and milk yield (g). Moreover, infants whose mothers produced greater AME in the early postnatal period showed higher activity levels and greater confidence in a stressful setting later in infancy. Our results suggest that the milk energy available soon after birth may be a nutritional cue that calibrates the infant's behavior to environmental or maternal conditions. These data provide new insight into potential mechanisms for the development of behavior and temperament and illuminate new directions for investigating maternal effects, nutritional programming, and developmental plasticity.

KW - Behavioral syndromes

KW - Infant development

KW - Lactation

KW - Nutritional programming

KW - Personality

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77951693882&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77951693882&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ajp.20806

DO - 10.1002/ajp.20806

M3 - Article

VL - 72

SP - 522

EP - 529

JO - American Journal of Primatology

JF - American Journal of Primatology

SN - 0275-2565

IS - 6

ER -