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Use of milk epithelial cells to study regulation of cell activity and apoptosis during once-daily milking in goats

Ben Chedly, H., Lacasse, P., Marnet, P.G., Komara, M., Marion, S., Boutinaud, M. (2011). Use of milk epithelial cells to study regulation of cell activity and apoptosis during once-daily milking in goats, 5(4), 572-579.


Generally, once-daily milking (ODM) decreases milk yield. This effect may be the consequence of a decrease in mammary epithelial cell (MEC) activity or a reduction in their number. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ODM on the synthetic activity and rate of apoptosis of MEC using a non-invasive method. Eight Alpine goats were subjected to ODM or twice-daily milking for two 5-week periods. MECs were purified by centrifugation and immunocytochemical binding in milk after 1 and 5 weeks of each period. mRNA levels of some proteins involved in lactose and milk protein synthesis and in apoptosis were evaluated using real-time PCR. Isolation of MEC from milk was a useful method to investigate transcriptional regulation in a timeline study. ODM induced greater decreases in milk, lactose and protein yields after 1 week than after 5 weeks. This suggests an adaptation of the mammary gland to ODM, which reduces the inhibitory effect of this practice. Reductions in milk component yields were associated with lower -lactalbumin transcripts, suggesting a transcriptional decrease of lactose synthesis during ODM. Glucose transporter GLUT1 transcripts were downregulated under ODM, suggesting that lactose precursor uptake by MEC might be involved in the regulation of lactose synthesis. -Casein mRNA levels tended to be lower during ODM. ODM increased levels of the pro-apoptotic transcript Bax after both 1 and 5 weeks, but no variation was observed in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. ODM affected cell synthetic activity through transcriptional regulation and may have induced apoptosis. The reduction of the negative effect of ODM on milk yield suggests that Alpine goats are able to adapt to ODM. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of ODM on MEC turnover. © The Animal Consortium 2010.

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