The effect of endogenous and exogenous N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on mammary gland development and fatty acid composition in FVB mice
This thesis is an investigation of the effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) derived from diet or endogenously via the fat-1 gene from conception through puberty on mammary gland development and fatty acid composition in both wild-type (WT) and transgenic (TG) mice. N-3 PUFA from both diet and genetics were enriched in the mammary glands of mice as early as 3 weeks of age and elevated levels persisted through 12 weeks, however dietary exposure resulted in a relatively greater incorporation of n-3 PUFA compared to genetics. Significant effects of n-3 PUFA on mammary gland development were noted at 3 and 4 weeks of age and a dose-dependant delay in pubertal onset was associated with elevated n-3 PUFA status. Overall, findings suggest that prepuberty might be a time when mammary gland development is particularly sensitive to dietary modifications which, may play a role in modifying future breast cancer risk.