In vivo inhibition followed by exogenous supplementation demonstrates galactopoietic effects of prolactin on mammary tissue and milk production in dairy cows.

Lollivier, V., Lacasse, P., Arizala, J.A., Lamberton, P., Wiart, S., Portanguen, J., Bruckmaier, R.M., and Boutinaud, M. (2015). "In vivo inhibition followed by exogenous supplementation demonstrates galactopoietic effects of prolactin on mammary tissue and milk production in dairy cows.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS). doi : 10.3168/jds.2015-9853  Access to full text

Abstract

It has been previously shown that the long-term inhibition of milking-induced prolactin (PRL) release by quinagolide (QN), a dopamine agonist, reduces milk yield in dairy cows. To further demonstrate that PRL is galactopoietic in cows, we performed a short-term experiment that used PRL injections to restore the release of PRL at milking in QN-treated cows. Nine Holstein cows were assigned to treatments during three 5-d periods in a 3 × 3 Latin square design: 1) QN: twice-daily i.m. injections of 1 mg of QN; 2) QN-PRL: twice-daily i.m. injections of 1 mg of QN and twice-daily (at milking time) i.v. injections of PRL (2 µg/kg body weight); and 3) control: twice-daily injections of the vehicles. Mammary epithelial cells (MEC) were purified from milk so that their viability could be assessed, and mammary biopsies were harvested for immunohistological analyses of cell proliferation using PCNA and STAT5 staining. In both milk-purified MEC and mammary tissue, the mRNA levels of milk proteins and BAX were determined using real-time reverse-transcription PCR. Daily QN injections reduced milking-induced PRL release. The area under the PRL curve was similar in the control and PRL injection treatments, but the shape was different. The QN treatment decreased milk, lactose, protein, and casein production. Injections of PRL did not restore milk yield but tended to increase milk protein yield. In mammary tissue, the percentage of STAT5-positive cells was reduced during QN but not during QN-PRL in comparison with the control treatment. The percentage of PCNA-positive cells was greater during QN-PRL injections than during the control or QN treatment and tended to be lower during QN than during the control treatment. In milk-purified MEC, κ-casein and α-lactalbumin mRNA levels were lower during QN than during the control treatment, but during QN-PRL, they were not different from the control treatment. In mammary tissue, the BAX mRNA level was lower during QN-PRL than during QN. The number of MEC exfoliated into milk was increased by QN injections but tended to be decreased by PRL injections. Injections of PRL also increased the viability of MEC harvested from milk. Although PRL injections at milking could not reverse the effect of QN treatment on milk production, their effects on cell survival and exfoliation and on gene expression suggest that the effect of QN treatment on the mammary gland is due to QN's inhibition of PRL secretion.

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