A model of induced lactation was modified to examine the effects of bovine prolactin (bPRL) and bovine placental lactogen (bPL) on mammary growth and differentiation. Thirty-two peripubertal, non-pregnant Holstein heifers were given daily s.c. injections of oestradiol (0·05 mg/kg) and progesterone (0·25 mg/kg) for 7 days to initiate mammary growth. Treatment with bromocriptine (40 mg/3 days) reduced serum PRL concentrations to approximately 25% of pretreatment levels, for the duration of the study. On the day following the last steroid injection, groups of eight heifers were given twice daily s.c. injections of either saline (negative control), recombinant bPRL (rbPRL; 80 mg/day) or recombinant bPL (rbPL; 80 and 160 mg/day) for 7 days. At the end of this period (day 15), growth and differentiation of the mammary glands were assessed. Treatment with rbPL increased total mammary DNA above control value by 50 and 60% for the 80 and 160 mg/day doses respectively. However, total DNA was not different for the control and rbPRL-treated groups. The blood serum concentration of α- lactalbumin was measured daily throughout the study and used as an index of mammary differentiation. Both rbPRL and rbPL stimulated mammary differentiation (i.e. induction of milk synthesis), although rbPRL appeared to be more potent than rbPL. These results indicate that rbPL is lactogenic in vivo and strongly suggest that bPL is a mammary mitogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism