Research ArticleMetabolism

Lactation improves pancreatic β cell mass and function through serotonin production

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Science Translational Medicine  29 Apr 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 541, eaay0455
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aay0455

Feeding with benefits

In addition to providing health benefits for infants, breastfeeding has also been reported to offer metabolic benefits for mothers, but the underlying biology explaining this observation has remained elusive. By studying both human and murine mothers over time, Moon et al. identified long-term improvements in pancreatic β cell mass and function, as well as glucose tolerance, all associated with lactation. The authors linked the hormone prolactin to serotonin production and proliferation of the β cells, providing a mechanistic explanation for the beneficial effects of lactation.

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