Background: Although males contribute half of the embryo's genome, only recently has interest begun to be directed toward the potential impact of paternal experiences on the health of offspring. While there is evidence that paternal malnutrition may increase offspring susceptibility to metabolic diseases, the influence of paternal factors on a daughter's breast cancer risk has been examined in few studies. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed, before and during puberty, either a lard-based (high in saturated fats) or a corn oil-based (high in n-6 polyunsaturated fats) high-fat diet (60 % of fat-derived energy). Control animals were fed an AIN-93G control diet (16 % of fat-derived energy). Their 50-day-old female offspring fed only a commercial diet were subjected to the classical model of mammary carcinogenesis based on 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene initiation, and mammary tumor development was evaluated. Sperm cells and mammary gland tissue were subjected to cellular and molecular analysis. Results: Compared with female offspring of control diet-fed male rats, offspring of lard-fed male rats did not differ in tumor latency, growth, or multiplicity. However, female offspring of lard-fed male rats had increased elongation of the mammary epithelial tree, number of terminal end buds, and tumor incidence compared with both female offspring of control diet-fed and corn oil-fed male rats. Compared with female offspring of control diet-fed male rats, female offspring of corn oil-fed male rats showed decreased tumor growth but no difference regarding tumor incidence, latency, or multiplicity. Additionally, female offspring of corn oil-fed male rats had longer tumor latency as well as decreased tumor growth and multiplicity compared with female offspring of lard-fed male rats. Paternal consumption of animal- or plant-based high-fat diets elicited opposing effects, with lard rich in saturated fatty acids increasing breast cancer risk in offspring and corn oil rich in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids decreasing it. These effects could be linked to alterations in microRNA expression in fathers' sperm and their daughters' mammary glands, and to modifications in breast cancer-related protein expression in this tissue. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of paternal nutrition in affecting future generations' risk of developing breast cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq; process 153478/2012-8), the São Paulo State Research Funding Agency (FAPESP; process 2011/23259-4), the National Cancer Institute (grant R01 CA164384 to LHC), and the Prevent Cancer Foundation (research grant 299045 to SdA).
© 2016 The Author(s).
- Breast cancer
- Female offspring
- High-fat diet
- Paternal diet