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Funct Integr Genomics. 2008 Aug;8(3):251-64. doi: 10.1007/s10142-008-0074-y. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Onset of lactation in the bovine mammary gland: gene expression profiling indicates a strong inhibition of gene expression in cell proliferation.

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Lactation and Mammary Gland Biology Group, Department of Animal Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


The mammary gland undergoes dramatic functional and metabolic changes during the transition from late pregnancy to lactation. To better understand the molecular events underlying these changes, we analyzed expression profiles of approximately 23,000 gene transcripts in bovine mammary tissue about day 5 before parturition and day 10 after parturition. At the cutoff criteria of the signed fold change >or=2 or <or=-2 and false discovery rate (FDR) <or=0.1, a total of 389 transcripts (1.6%) were significantly differentially expressed at the two stages. Of these transcripts with significant changes, 105 were up-regulated while 284 were down-regulated. Gene ontology analysis showed that the main up-regulated genes were those associated with transport activity (amino acid, glucose, and ion transporters), lipid and carbohydrate metabolism (lipoprotein lipase, acetyl-Coenzyme A synthetases, 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase, etc.), and cell signaling factors (protein p8, Rab18, etc.). The main down-regulated genes were associated with cell cycle and proliferation (cyclins, cell division cycle associated proteins, etc.), DNA replication and chromosome organization (centromere proteins, minichromosome maintenance proteins, histone, etc.), microtubule-based processes (microtubule associated protein tau, kinesin, tubulins, etc.), and protein and RNA degradation (proteasome, proteasome activator, RNA binding motif protein, etc.). The increased expression of glucose transporter GLUT1 mRNA during lactation was verified by quantitative reverse transcription/polymerase chain reactin (PCR) (P < 0.05). GLUT1 protein also increased twofold during lactation (P < 0.05). Furthermore, GLUT1 protein was primarily localized in mammary ductal epithelia and blood vessel endothelia before parturition, but was predominantly localized in the basolateral and apical membranes of mammary alveolar epithelial cells during lactation. Our microarray data provide insight into the molecular events in the mammary gland at the onset of lactation, indicating the up-regulation of genes involved in milk synthesis concomitant with the inhibition of those related to cell proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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