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Stelwagen K.,SciLactis Ltd. | Singh K.,Agresearch Ltd.
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia | Year: 2014

Tight junctions (TJ) are cellular structures that facilitate cell-cell communication and are important in maintaining the three-dimensional structure of epithelia. It is only during the last two decades that the molecular make-up of TJ is becoming unravelled, with two major transmembrane-spanning structural protein families, called occludin and claudins, being the true constituents of the TJ. These TJ proteins are linked via specific scaffolding proteins to the cell's cytoskeleton. In the mammary gland TJ between adjacent secretory epithelial cells are formed during lactogenesis and are instrumental in establishing and maintaining milk synthesis and secretion, whereas TJ integrity is compromised during mammary involution and also as result of mastitis and periods of mammary inflamation (including mastitis). They prevent the paracellular transport of ions and small molecules between the blood and milk compartments. Formation of intact TJ at the start of lactation is important for the establishment of the lactation. Conversely, loss of TJ integrity has been linked to reduced milk secretion and mammary function and increased paracellular transport of blood components into the milk and vice versa. In addition to acting as a paracellular barrier, the TJ is increasingly linked to playing an active role in intracellular signalling. This review focusses on the role of TJ in mammary function of the normal, non-malignant mammary gland, predominantly in ruminants, the major dairy producing species. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Singh K.,Agresearch Ltd. | Swanson K.M.,Agresearch Ltd. | Henderson H.V.,Agresearch Ltd. | Erdman R.A.,University of Maryland University College | Stelwagen K.,SciLactis Ltd.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2015

In dairy cows, extended periods of nonmilking results in reduced milk secretion, modifications in milk composition, and eventually involution of the mammary glands. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of extended nonmilking periods on the recovery of milk yield and composition, and levels of prolactin and insulin-like growth factor-I in pasture-fed cows after resuming milking. Pasture-fed, primiparous, nonpregnant, Friesian dairy cows at mid lactation (mean ± standard deviation, 97 ± 2. d in milk, 14.0 ± 2.5 L/d) were divided into 3 groups (n. =. 6 per group). The cows were subjected to nonmilking periods of 7, 14, or 28. d. Twice-daily milking was resumed for 7. d following the nonmilking periods. Milk yield recoveries at the end of the 7-d remilking period were 91, 51, and 29% for the 7, 14, and 28-d nonmilked groups, respectively. The somatic cell count declined to less than 400,000 cells/mL by d 3 and 6 of remilking for the 7- and 14-d-nonmilked groups, respectively, but remained greater than 800,000 cells/mL in the 28-d-nonmilked group through the 7-d remilking period. By d 7 of remilking, the somatic cell count for the 7-d-nonmilked group was not different from pretrial values. Upon remilking, the milk fat content returned to pretrial values for the 7- and 14-d-nonmilked groups, although it remained lower than pretrial for the 28-d-nonmilked group. All 3 nonmilked groups had a higher milk protein content following 7. d of remilking, compared with pretrial values. The lactose content returned to pretrial values for the 7-d-nonmilked group but remained lower for the 14- and 28-d-nonmilked groups. Circulating prolactin concentrations increased once remilking was resumed, compared with the pretrial and nonmilking periods. Prolactin concentrations did not majorly differ between the groups, with the levels upon 7. d of remilking remaining higher than the pretrial concentrations and the nonmilked periods. Plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I increased during the nonmilking period and were greater in all 3 nonmilked groups on d 1 of remilking than pretrial values and returned to pretrial concentrations following remilking for the 7-d-nonmilked group, whereas the 14- and 28-d-nonmilked groups remained higher than the pretrial values. These data indicate that the process of involution is fully reversed after remilking following 7. d of milk stasis but more extended periods of nonmilking prevent the complete recovery of lactation. However, even after 28. d of milk stasis, the milk synthesis capacity of the mammary gland could still be partially recovered. © 2015 American Dairy Science Association.


Singh K.,Agresearch Ltd. | Swanson K.M.,Agresearch Ltd. | Henderson H.V.,Agresearch Ltd. | Erdman R.A.,University of Maryland College Park | Stelwagen K.,SciLactis Ltd.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2015

In dairy cows, extended periods of nonmilking results in reduced milk secretion, modifications in milk composition, and eventually involution of the mammary glands. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of extended nonmilking periods on the recovery of milk yield and composition, and levels of prolactin and insulin-like growth factor-I in pasture-fed cows after resuming milking. Pasture-fed, primiparous, nonpregnant, Friesian dairy cows at mid lactation (mean ± standard deviation, 97 ± 2 d in milk, 14.0 ± 2.5 L/d) were divided into 3 groups (n = 6 per group). The cows were subjected to nonmilking periods of 7, 14, or 28 d. Twice-daily milking was resumed for 7 d following the nonmilking periods. Milk yield recoveries at the end of the 7-d remilking period were 91, 51, and 29% for the 7, 14, and 28-d nonmilked groups, respectively. The somatic cell count declined to less than 400,000 cells/mL by d 3 and 6 of remilking for the 7- and 14-d-nonmilked groups, respectively, but remained greater than 800,000 cells/mL in the 28-d-nonmilked group through the 7-d remilking period. By d 7 of remilking, the somatic cell count for the 7-d-nonmilked group was not different from pretrial values. Upon remilking, the milk fat content returned to pretrial values for the 7- and 14-d-nonmilked groups, although it remained lower than pretrial for the 28-d-nonmilked group. All 3 nonmilked groups had a higher milk protein content following 7 d of remilking, compared with pretrial values. The lactose content returned to pretrial values for the 7-d-nonmilked group but remained lower for the 14- and 28-d-nonmilked groups. Circulating prolactin concentrations increased once remilking was resumed, compared with the pretrial and nonmilking periods. Prolactin concentrations did not majorly differ between the groups, with the levels upon 7 d of remilking remaining higher than the pretrial concentrations and the nonmilked periods. Plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I increased during the nonmilking period and were greater in all 3 nonmilked groups on d 1 of remilking than pretrial values and returned to pretrial concentrations following remilking for the 7-d-nonmilked group, whereas the 14- and 28-d-nonmilked groups remained higher than the pretrial values. These data indicate that the process of involution is fully reversed after remilking following 7 d of milk stasis but more extended periods of nonmilking prevent the complete recovery of lactation. However, even after 28 d of milk stasis, the milk synthesis capacity of the mammary gland could still be partially recovered. © 2015 American Dairy Science Association.


Singh K.,Agresearch Ltd. | Molenaar A.J.,Agresearch Ltd. | Swanson K.M.,Agresearch Ltd. | Gudex B.,Livestock Improvement Corporation | And 3 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2012

A potential role for epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of mammary function in the dairy cow is emerging. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in genome function that occur because of chemical changes rather than DNA sequence changes. DNA methylation is an epigenetic event that results in the silencing of gene expression and may be passed on to the next generation. However, recent studies investigating different physiological states and changes in milk protein gene expression suggest that DNA methylation may also play an acute, regulatory, role in gene transcription. This overview will highlight the role of DNA methylation in the silencing of milk protein gene expression during mastitis and mammary involution. Moreover, environmental factors such as nutrition may induce epigenetic modifications of gene expression. The current research investigating the possibility of in utero, hence cross-generational, epigenetic modifications in dairy cows will also be discussed. Understanding how the mammary gland responds to environmental cues provides a potential to enhance milk production not only of the dairy cow but also of her daughter. © Copyright The Animal Consortium 2012.


Wheeler T.T.,Agresearch Ltd. | Smolenski G.A.,Agresearch Ltd. | Harris D.P.,Agresearch Ltd. | Gupta S.K.,Agresearch Ltd. | And 4 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2012

Milk is a source of bioactive molecules with wide-ranging functions. Among these, the immune properties have been the best characterised. In recent years, it has become apparent that besides the immunoglobulins, milk also contains a range of minor immune-related proteins that collectively form a significant first line of defence against pathogens, acting both within the mammary gland itself as well as in the digestive tract of the suckling neonate. We have used proteomics technologies to characterise the repertoire of host-defence-related milk proteins in detail, revealing more than 100 distinct gene products in milk, of which at least 15 are known host-defence-related proteins. Those having intrinsic antimicrobial activity likely function as effector proteins of the local mucosal immune defence (e.g. defensins, cathelicidins and the calgranulins). Here, we focus on the activities and biological roles of the cathelicidins and mammary serum amyloid A. The function of the immune-related milk proteins that do not have intrinsic antimicrobial activity is also discussed, notably lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, RNase4, RNase5/angiogenin and cartilage-glycoprotein 39 kDa. Evidence is shown that at least some of these facilitate recognition of microbes, resulting in the activation of innate immune signalling pathways in cells associated with the mammary and/or gut mucosal surface. Finally, the contribution of the bacteria in milk to its functionality is discussed. These investigations are elucidating how an effective first line of defence is achieved in the bovine mammary gland and how milk contributes to optimal digestive function in the suckling calf. This study will contribute to a better understanding of the health benefits of milk, as well as to the development of high-value ingredients from milk. © Copyright The Animal Consortium 2011.

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