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Local control of mammary involution: Is stanniocalcin-1 involved?

Tremblay, G., Bernier-Dodier, P., Delbecchi, L., Wagner, G.F., Talbot, B.G., Lacasse, P. (2009). Local control of mammary involution: Is stanniocalcin-1 involved?, 92(5), 1998-2006.


There is considerable evidence to indicate the existence of local control of mammary gland involution, but the exact nature of this control has yet to be defined. Stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1) is a newly discovered mammalian hormone that seems involved in the lactation process and may be implicated in the control of involution. As a first step in investigating this hypothesis, the change in STC-1 levels in milk and serum was measured during drying off. Nine Holstein cows in late lactation were milked twice daily on half the gland, while the other half was left unmilked for a 14-d period. Milk and blood samples and mammary biopsies were taken on d -7, 1, 2, 7, and 14 relative to the onset of the nonmilking period. The concentrations of STC-1 in serum and milk were determined by RIA. The albumin concentration and proteinase activity of the milk were determined. Apoptosis of the mammary epithelium was quantified by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferasemediated dUTP nick-end labeling assay. Finally, the effects of milk on cellular activity and apoptosis were tested in vitro on mammary epithelial cells by measuring the turnover of tetrazolium salts and by counting the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-positive cells. The drying off of 2 quarters increased the milk production of the quarters that were milked by 30%. Milk proteinase activity and BSA and STC-1 concentrations increased in the nonmilked quarters, but remained unchanged in the milked quarters. Moreover, at d 2, the apoptotic rate of the mammary cells was higher in the nonmilked quarters than in the milked quarters (0.22 ± 0.04 vs. 0.07 ± 0.04%, respectively). Finally, in vitro experimentation demonstrated that mammary epithelial cells cultured in the presence of milk from involuting quarters had 3-fold more apoptotic cells as compared with those cultured in milk from the milked quarters at d 14. The metabolic rate was reduced by 14.6% for milk from d 7 and 23.6% for milk from d 14. Interestingly, the metabolic rate was negatively correlated with the STC-1 concentration in milk (r = -0.65). This study shows for the first time that STC-1 in milk is increased following milk stasis, although its exact role in the involution process remains to be clarified. © American Dairy Science Association, 2009.

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