Submitted to: Joint Abstracts of the American Dairy Science and Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 17, 2006
Publication Date: July 9, 2006
Citation: Capuco, A.V., Connor, E.E., Meyer, M.J., Li, R.W., Van Tassell, C.P., Sonstegard, T.S., Van Amburgh, M.E., Boisclair, Y.R. 2006. Advancements and future challenges in understanding mammary gland function [abstract]. J. Dairy Sci. 89(Suppl. 1):409.
Examination of DHIA records demonstrates that the dairy industry has seen major increases in milk production due to improved management and genetic progress. Classical experiments discovered a great deal about hormonal regulation of mammary development and lactation. With the advent of molecular biology, greater detail has been learned about specific regulatory pathways and the multitude of interactions among them. The ability to produce quantities of bovine somatotropin through recombinant DNA technology led not only to greater elucidation of this hormone’s biological effects and ultimately to its commercial application, but to a greater appreciation for the coordinated systemic regulation among tissues and organs that supports lactation and other critical physiological events such as pregnancy. Key studies in areas of photoperiodic regulation, immune function and milking management have led to further advances in production, efficiency and animal health. Beyond its impact on production, the effect of nutritional management on the myriad of physiological processes remains an active area of discovery. Transgenic approaches provide an additional means for studying mammary gland biology and, although controversial, provide a means for improving health of the mammary gland, altering milk composition, and utilizing the mammary gland as a bioreactor. Ever increasing sensitivity of methods to identify, isolate and interrogate cells will permit greater understanding of the function and interactions among mammary cells and will permit continued advances in mammary gland biology. Availability of sequence information for the bovine genome will further accelerate these advances. However, the integration of regulation at the tissue level with systemic physiology will remain a substantial challenge.