Effect of premilking stimulation and milking frequency on milking-induced prolactin release in lactating dairy cows.

Lacasse, P. and Ollier, S. (2014). "Effect of premilking stimulation and milking frequency on milking-induced prolactin release in lactating dairy cows.", Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 47(1), pp. 47-54. doi : 10.1016/j.domaniend.2013.11.007  Access to full text

Abstract

Four experiments were conducted to investigate the factors controlling prolactin (PRL) release at milking. Each experiment used 9 dairy cows in mid-lactation in a 3 × 3 Latin square design. Experiment 1 evaluated the effect of premilking stimulation. The milking unit was attached after 0, 20, or 120 s of manual stimulation. Blood samples were collected from 20 min before to 60 min after milking-unit attachment. The peak value and total PRL release (area under the curve) were not affected by the treatments, but the 120-s stimulation hastened PRL release. Stimulation (20 or 120 s) increased the β-endorphin peak value (P = 0.02), but the magnitudes of PRL and β-endorphin releases were not correlated. Experiment 2 evaluated the effect of milking frequency. Cows were milked twice, at 7 AM and 7 PM; 3 times, at 7 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM; or 7 times, at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, and 7 PM. The amount of PRL released at the 7 PM milking decreased as the number of milkings increased (P < 0.01), and peak values were smaller with 7 milkings than with 2 and 3 milkings (P < 0.05). Beta-endorphin release was not affected by milking frequency and not correlated with the magnitude of PRL release. Experiment 3 evaluated the effect of manual stimulation between milkings on milking-induced PRL release. Cows received no stimulation; 5 stimulations (5 min each), at 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM; or 1 stimulation at 5 PM. Manual stimulation reduced (P < 0.5) the amount of PRL released and the maximum PRL concentration at the 7 PM milking, but no difference were found between 1 and 5 stimulations. Manual stimulation did not affect the amount of cortisol released but did impair milk ejection. Experiment 4 evaluated the effect of milking frequency on the PRL release induced by manual stimulation. Cows were milked at 7 AM only; at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM; or at 7 AM and 5 PM. All cows then received manual stimulation at 7 PM. Milking every 2 h or once 2 h before manual stimulation reduced the amount of PRL released and the maximum PRL concentration but did not affect cortisol release. In conclusion, the length of premilking stimulation has no significant effect on milking-induced PRL release, but increasing milking frequency reduces the amount of PRL released at milking. This effect is due not to the number of milkings or the amount of milk harvested during the milking but to the interval since the preceding milking.

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