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      Variation among species in the endocrine control of mammary growth and function: the roles of prolactin, growth hormone, and placental lactogen.

      Journal of dairy science

      Species Specificity, physiology, Rodentia, Prolactin, Primates, Pregnancy, Placental Lactogen, Marsupialia, growth & development, Mammary Glands, Animal, Lactation, Growth Hormone, Female, Artiodactyla, Animals

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          Prolactin, growth hormone, and placental lactogen form a family of structurally related hormones, which may have evolved from a common ancestral peptide. Prolactin and growth hormone are present in all mammals, but the biological activity associated with placental lactogen has been detected in only some groups. Attempts to detect placental lactogen using bioassay and radioreceptor assay are reported and have been unsuccessful in an insectivore (the shrew), a bat, an edentate (the armadillo), a lagomorph (the rabbit), several carnivores (dog, cat, ferret), perissodactyls (horse, zebra, rhino), and, within the artiodactyls, pigs. Placental lactogenic activity has been detected in primates (chimpanzee, orangutan), rodents (voles, Pinon mouse, guinea-pig, mara), and in numerous artiodactyls (llama, giraffe, several species of deer, antelope, gnu, gazelle, musk ox, cape buffalo, Barbary sheep, several sheep of the genus Ovis, goat, and cow). These results confirm and extend the work of others and are discussed in relation to the evolution of these hormones. In synergism with steroid and thyroid hormones, protein hormones of the prolactin and growth hormone family play a crucial role in stimulating the development of the mammary gland, the differentiation and function of mammary cells to secrete milk, and in the systemic adjustments in maternal metabolism in pregnancy and lactation. Studies in vitro have shown that mammary tissues from several species synthesize milk components in response to insulin plus adrenal corticoid plus prolactin. However, there are also species differences in minimal hormonal requirements for lactogenesis. In vivo, for example, rabbits will initiate or sustain lactation in response to prolactin alone, whereas sheep and goats require prolactin plus growth hormone plus adrenal corticoid plus thyroid hormone. Measurement of hormone concentrations in the plasma of pregnant animals shows considerable differences among species in the pattern of secretion of lactogenic hormones to bring about mammary development. A surge of prolactin secretion occurs at parturition but may not be essential in the initiation of lactation. The timing of progesterone withdrawal correlates well with lactogenesis in eutherian mammals, but species differ in the mechanisms at parturition which bring this about. Marsupials show a quite different pattern of suckling-induced lactation. In maintaining lactation the greatest contrast is between ruminants, in which growth hormone is of particular importance, and other mammals, in which reduction of prolactin secretion with bromocriptine rapidly suppresses milk synthesis and secretion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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