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Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Uteroplacental insufficiency alters the mammary gland response to lactogenic hormones in vitro

Rachael O’Dowd A , Mary E. Wlodek A C and Kevin R. Nicholas B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.

B Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: m.wlodek@unimelb.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 20(4) 460-465 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD07228
Submitted: 20 December 2007  Accepted: 18 February 2008   Published: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Adequate mammary development and coordinated actions of lactogenic hormones are essential for the initiation of lactation. Pregnancies compromised by uteroplacental insufficiency impair mammary development and lactation, further slowing postnatal growth. It is not known whether the initiation of lactation or galactopoesis is compromised. Uteroplacental insufficiency induced in rats by bilateral uterine vessel ligation (Restricted) or sham surgery (Control) on Day 18 of gestation preceded collection of mammary tissue on Day 20 of pregnancy. Mammary explants were cultured with combinations of insulin, cortisol and prolactin and analysed for α-lactalbumin and β-casein gene expression. Mammary tissue from late pregnant Restricted rats had elevated α-lactalbumin, but not β-casein, mRNA, which is consistent with premature lactogenesis resulting from an early decline in peripheral maternal progesterone. Explants from Restricted rats were more responsive to hormone stimulation after 3 days in culture, indicating that compromised galactopoesis, not lactogenesis, most likely leads to the reduced growth of suckled pups.

Additional keywords: explant, growth restriction, lactation.


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