Suppressive Role of Lactoferrin in Overweight-Related Female Fertility Problems

Ban Sato, Seiya Kanai, Daiki Sakaguchi, Kodai Yajima, Yu Matsumoto, Kazunori Morohoshi, Shinji Kagaya, Nobuo Izumo, Minoru Ichinose, Woojin Kang, Mami Miyado, Kenji Miyado, Natsuko Kawano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The secretory glycoprotein lactoferrin (LF) is suggested to ameliorate overweight regardless of non-genetic or genetic mechanisms. Although maternal overweight represents a key predictor of offspring growth, the efficacy of LF on fertility problems in overweight and obese mothers remains unknown. To address this issue, we examined the effect of LF ingestion by analyzing overweight mice (Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice with high-fat diets; HF mice) and obese mice (leptin-deficient mice with type II diabetes; ob/ob mice). Plasma insulin, leptin, glucose, and cholesterol levels were measured, and thermal imaging and histological analysis were employed. The litter size of HF females was reduced due to miscarriage, which was reversed by LF ingestion. In addition, LF ingestion suppressed overweight prevalence in their offspring. The component analysis of the maternal blood demonstrated that glucose concentration in both HF females and their offspring was normalized by LF ingestion, which further standardized the concentration of insulin, but not leptin. LF ingestion was unable to reverse female infertility in ob/ob mice, although their obesity and uterine function were partially improved. Our results indicate that LF upregulates female fertility by reinforcing ovarian and uterine functions in females that are overweight due to caloric surplus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number938
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Female fertility problems
  • Lactoferrin
  • Obesity
  • Overweight


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