Arachidonic acid (AA) is naturally found in human breast milk. AA, together with docosahexaenoic acid, is commonly added as a functional food ingredient to commercial infant formula worldwide, in accordance with the international standards of Codex Alimentarius. However, few studies of the possible renal carcinogenic effects of AA supplementation during neonatal life have been performed. The effect of dietary AA supplementation in dams during gestation and lactation was investigated on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced preneoplastic lesions in the kidneys of young Lewis rats. Dams were fed a 2.0% AA diet or a basal diet (<0.01% AA). At birth (postnatal day 0), male and female pups received a single intraperitoneal injection of 35 mg/kg MNU or vehicle. Renal morphology was examined after 7, 14, 21, 28 and 60 days. Histopathologically, renal preneoplastic lesions, such as nephroblastomatosis and mesenchymal cell proliferation, were found on day 60 in both the MNU-treated groups. There was no significant difference in lesion incidence of 38% in the basal diet group and 31% in the AA diet group. In conclusion, an AA-rich diet for dams during gestation and lactation does not modify MNU-induced renal preneoplastic lesions in their offspring.
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