The effect of caffeine on mammary gland development and milk yield in primiparous sows

J Anim Sci. 1995 Feb;73(2):534-40. doi: 10.2527/1995.732534x.


Pregnant Yorkshire gilts (n = 42) were fed caffeine (6 g/d) or served as controls from d 60 of pregnancy until d 4 postpartum to test the effect of caffeine on mammary gland development, milk yield, and feed consumption. Caffeine reduced voluntary feed intake (P = .001) and body weight gain (P = .001) of gilts from d 60 to 109 of gestation. Pig birth weight in the treated group was less than (P = .01) that in the control group. However, pig viability score at birth was not affected by maternal caffeine ingestion. For assessing mammary gland DNA, RNA, dry fat-free tissue (DFFT), fat, and protein content, four sows from the caffeine group and three controls were slaughtered on the 1st d of lactation. Immediately after slaughter, mammary systems were removed, separated by gland, and dissected free of skin, muscle, and fatty pad, which had not been invaded by glandular tissue. The DNA and RNA content were evaluated in DFFT. Caffeine increased mammary RNA content (P = .023) and milk yield (P = .001) on d 1 of lactation. However, DNA, DFFT, fat, and protein were not significantly increased, although values were somewhat greater in the treatment group (approximately 82%). On d 21 of lactation, milk yield of treated sows did not differ from that of controls. The increased milk yield on d 1 of lactation was due to increased mammary epithelial cell activity and cell numbers. These results indicate that caffeine feeding can have a positive effect on porcine mammary gland development as well as milk yield.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Suckling / growth & development
  • Animals, Suckling / physiology
  • Birth Weight / drug effects
  • Birth Weight / physiology
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / chemistry
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / physiology
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / drug effects
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*
  • RNA / analysis
  • Random Allocation
  • Swine / physiology*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Caffeine
  • RNA
  • DNA