Maternal western diet causes inflammatory milk and TLR2/4-dependent neonatal toxicity

Yang Du, Marie Yang, Syann Lee, Cassie L. Behrendt, Lora V. Hooper, Alan Saghatelian, Yihong Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


For all newborn mammals, mother's milk is the perfect nourishment, crucial for their postnatal development. Here we report that, unexpectedly, maternal western diet consumption in mice causes the production of toxic milk that contains excessive long chain and saturated fatty acids, which triggers ceramide accumulation and inflammation in the nursing neonates, manifested as alopecia. This neonatal toxicity requires Toll-like-receptors (TLR), but not gut microbiota, because TLR2/4 deletion or TLR4 inhibition confers resistance, whereas germ-free mice remain sensitive. These findings unravel maternal western diet-induced inflammatory milk secretion as a novel aspect of the metabolic syndrome at the maternal offspring interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1306-1311
Number of pages6
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Metabolism
  • Milk
  • Neonatal inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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