Abstract #98

# 98
New insights in the importance of prolactin in dairy ruminants.
Pierre Lacasse*1, Séverine Ollier1, Vanessa Lollivier2, Marion Boutinaud2, 1Dairy and Swine R&D Centre, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada, 2INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, UMR1348 PEGASE, Saint Gilles, France.

In most mammals, prolactin (PRL) is essential for maintaining lactation and its suppression inhibits lactation. However, the involvement of PRL in the control of ruminant lactation is less clear because inconsistent effects on milk yield have been observed with short-term suppression of PRL by bromocriptine. Therefore, several experiments were conducted to assess the galactopoietic role of PRL. In an initial experiment, cows in early lactation received daily injections of the dopamine agonist quinagolide (QUIN) for 9 weeks. QUIN reduced milking-induced PRL release and caused a faster decline in milk production. Milk production was correlated with the amount of PRL released at milking. QUIN reduced mammary epithelial cell activity, survival and proliferation. In goats, QUIN did not affect either basal or milking induced PRL release and milk production, whereas injection of cabergoline, another dopamine agonist, caused a decrease of 28% of milk yield the day after the injection. In another experiment, cows were injected for 5 d with QUIN; QUIN + injection of bPRL at milking time; or vehicles. Again, milk, protein and lactose yield were decreased by QUIN. Although PRL injections were not sufficient to restore milk yield, they tended to increase milk protein and lactose yields and increased the viability of milk purified mammary epithelial cells. In late lactation cows, QUIN decreased milk production within the first day of treatment and induced a more rapid changes in several markers of mammary gland involution after drying-off. Similarly, injection at drying-off of cabergoline hastened mammary involution and enhanced mammary gland remodeling. Recently, we stimulated PRL secretion with daily injection of the dopamine antagonist domperidone for 5 weeks. Milk production increased gradually and was greater in domperidone-treated cows during the last 4 weeks of the treatment period. Milk production of both groups became similar again 5d after the last injection. In conclusion, these data, combined with those from other studies, provide a good body of evidence that PRL is galactopoietic in dairy ruminants.

Key Words: prolactin, milk production, cows

Speaker Bio
He has obtained a Ph.D. in Animal Science from McGill University in 1993
In 1994, he did a postdoc at Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand;  where he investigated the relationship between mammary gland blood flow and milk production.
Since 1995, he is a research scientist in Biology of lactation for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Dairy and Swine R&D Centre in Sherbrooke, Québec. His current research program focus on the biological control of lactation persistency, factors controlling milk iodine concentration, effect of dairy cow management on productivity and susceptibility to diseases and the development of new tools to fight mastitis.
He is one of the founding member of the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network.