Influence of lactation history on breast nipple aspirate fluid yields and fluid composition

Zora Djuric, Daniel W. Visscher, Lance K. Heilbrun, Gang Chen, Martin Atkins, Chandice Y. Covington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Analysis of nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) can be useful for understanding the impact that various lifestyle factors have on the biology of the breast. In this study, breast NAF was obtained at baseline from premenopausal women who volunteered for a dietary intervention trial. The influence of lactation history on both fluid yields and fluid composition was explored. We examined the levels of fat-soluble micronutrients (tocopherols, carotenoids, retinol), one lipid oxidation product (8-isoprostane), cholesterol, and protein in NAF. Roughly half of the women in the trial had never lactated, but this did not affect fluid yields appreciably. Carotenoid and tocopherol levels were significantly higher in NAF from women who lactated 6 months or more versus women who had lactated for shorter periods of time or never, but 8-isoprostane, protein, and cholesterol levels were not affected appreciably by lifetime lactation history. Longer times after weaning were associated with higher cholesterol levels, and there also was a suggestion the fat-soluble micronutrients declined with time after weaning. This is of interest since high cholesterol levels in breast fluid have been associated with an increased breast cancer risk, while carotenoids and tocopherols are thought to be protective. The results of this study provide further evidence of the potential benefits of prolonged lactation via its influence on NAF composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • 8-isoprostane
  • Breast fluid
  • Carotenoids
  • Nipple aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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