New developments on the galactopoietic role of prolactin in dairy ruminants.

Abstract : In most mammals, prolactin (PRL) is essential for maintaining lactation and its suppression strongly inhibits lactation. However, the involvement of PRL in the control of ruminant lactation is less clear because inconsistent effects on milk yield have been observed with short-term suppression of PRL by bromocriptine. By contrast, in vitro studies have provided evidence that PRL helps to maintain the differentiation state and act as a survival factor for mammary epithelial cells. Therefore, a series of experiments were conducted to assess the galactopoietic role of PRL. In a first experiment, daily injections of the PRL inhibitor quinagolide reduced milking-induced PRL release and induced a faster decline in milk production. Milk production was correlated with PRL released at milking. Quinagolide reduced mammary cell activity, survival, and proliferation. During the last week of treatments, differential milking (1× vs 2×) was applied. The inhibition of milk production by quinagolide was maintained in the udder half that was milked 2× but not in the udder half milked 1×, suggesting that the response to PRL is modulated at the gland level. In a second experiment, cows were injected with quinagolide, quinagolide + injection of bovine PRL at milking time, or water. As in the first experiment, quinagolide reduced milk, protein, and lactose yields. Although PRL injections at milking time were not sufficient to restore milk yield, they tended to increase milk protein and lactose yields and increased the viability of milk-purified mammary epithelial cells. Recently, we investigated the use of quinagolide at drying off. Treating late-lactation cows with quinagolide decreased milk production within the first day of treatment and induced faster increases in somatic cells and bovine serum albumin content in mammary secretions after drying off, which indicates an acceleration of mammary gland involution. In conclusion, these data, combined with data from other studies, provide a good body of evidence indicating that PRL is galactopoietic in dairy cows. However, the response to PRL appears to be modulated at the mammary gland level.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 7, 2012 - 3:37:51 PM
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P. Lacasse, Vanessa Lollivier, R.M. Bruckmaier, S. Ollier, M. Boutinaud. New developments on the galactopoietic role of prolactin in dairy ruminants.. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, Elsevier, 2012, 43 (2), pp.154-60. ⟨10.1016/j.domaniend.2011.12.007⟩. ⟨hal-00729376⟩

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