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Hormonal induction of α–lactalbumin and β–lactoglobulin in cultured mammary explants from pregnant pigs

  • Susan C. Dodd (a1) (a2), Isabel A. Forsyth (a3), Hugh L. Buttle (a1), Michael I. Gurr (a2) and Raymond R. Dils (a4)...


Mammary tissue from pigs on days 60, 80, 90, 100 and 100+ (days 106–111) of pregnancy has been cultured in vitro as explants. The total accumulation in tissue and culture medium of the whey proteins α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin has been measured using specific radioimmunoassays. The control, uncultured tissue showed progressive morphological development from sparse, non-secretory epithelial tissue on day 60 to full lobulo-alveolar development with some accumulated secretion from day 100. In uncultured explants β-lactoglobulin could be detected consistently from day 90 (13 ± 12 ng/μg DNA, n = 4) and α-lactalbumin from day 100 (1·3 ± 0·5 ng/μg DNA, n = 11). At all stages of pregnancy, both whey proteins increased markedly during the period of culture (up to 7 d). Stimulation of α-lactalbumin appeared to be primarily under prolactin control. Prolactin increased α-lactalbumin accumulation to a similar extent alone, or in the presence of insulin and/or corticosterone. The response to prolactin was dose-dependent over the range 0·4–20 nM (10–500 ng/ml). Porcine prolactin was more potent than ovine prolactin. There was no effect of porcine growth hormone and no synergism detected between prolactin and tri-iodothyronine. By contrast, no specific hormonal requirements were established for accumulation of β-lactoglobulin, which appeared to increase in vitro if tissue remained viable in various combinations of insulin, corticosterone and prolactin. It was not stimulated by growth hormone. There was some indication of a prolactin-sensitive component in longer term cultures after day 4.



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Hormonal induction of α–lactalbumin and β–lactoglobulin in cultured mammary explants from pregnant pigs

  • Susan C. Dodd (a1) (a2), Isabel A. Forsyth (a3), Hugh L. Buttle (a1), Michael I. Gurr (a2) and Raymond R. Dils (a4)...


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