Abstract #97

# 97
Autocrine-paracrine regulation of the mammary gland.
Samantha R. Weaver1, Laura L. Hernandez*1, 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.

The mammary gland has a remarkable capacity for regulation at a local level, particularly with respect to its main function: milk secretion. Regulation of milk synthesis has significant affects animal and human health, at the level of both the mother and the neonate. Control by the mammary gland of its essential function, milk synthesis, is an evolutionary necessity and is therefore tightly controlled at a local level. For at least the last 60 years, researchers have been interested in elucidating the mechanisms underpinning the mammary gland’s ability to self-regulate, largely without the influence from systemic hormones or signals. By the 1960s, researchers realized the importance of milk removal in the capacity of the gland to produce milk and that the dynamics of this removal, including emptying of the alveolar spaces and frequency of milking, were controlled locally as opposed to through systemic hormonal regulation. Using both in vitro systems and various mammalian species, including goats, marsupials, humans, and dairy cows, it has been demonstrated that the mammary gland is largely self-regulating in its capacity to support the young, which is the evolutionary basis for milk production. Local control occurs at the level of the mammary epithelial cell through pressure and stretching negative-feedback mechanisms and also in an autocrine fashion through bioactive factors within the milk which act as inhibitors, regulating milk secretion within the alveoli themselves. It is only within the last 20 to 30 years that potential candidates for these bioactive factors have been examined at a molecular level. Several factors, including parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP), growth factors (transforming growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, epidermal growth factor) and serotonin (5-HT), are both synthesized within and act upon the gland, and posess dynamic receptor activity resulting in diverse effects on growth, calcium homeostasis, and milk composition. This review will focus on the autocrine-paracrine regulation of the mammary gland, with an examination of both foundational work and the progress made within the last 10 to 20 years of research.

Key Words: lactation, milk, secretion

Speaker Bio
I have been an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since June 2011.  I received my Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Bob Collier and completed a post-doctoral fellwoship at the University of Cincinnati from 2008-2011 under the mentorship of Dr. Nelson Horseman.  My research area focuses on the contribution of serotonin to the regulation of milk synthesis and secretion, as well as mammary gland function.  I have publsihed over 20 manuscripts and have demonstrated the importance of serotonin on maternal metabolism to support milk synthesis and formation.