Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2009
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Citation: Akers, R.M., Capuco, A.V. 2011. Lactogenesis. In: Fuquay, J.W., Fox, P.F., McSweeney, P.L.H., editors. Encyclopedia of Dairy Science. 2nd edition. Sandiego, CA: Academic Press. p. 15-19.
For mammals, initiation of milk synthesis and secretion is essential for successful rearing of the neonate and ultimately reproduction. Hormonal and growth factor stimulation of mammary development during gestation allows the generation of abundant glandular alveoli. The subsequent differentiation of the epithelial cells of these alveoli leads to onset of milk synthesis and secretion in concurrence with parturition. Milk of all mammals contains variable amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in an aqueous medium. Although there are marked species differences with regard to details of milk composition, having the birth of the neonate and functionality of the mammary gland coincide is obviously critical. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of final stages of gestational mammary development and especially the dramatic, acute changes in secretory cell structure and function as the gland prepares for onset of copious milk secretion, a process called lactogenesis.