Growth Factor and Extracellular Matrix Regulation of Heifer Mammary Development
Berry, Sarah Dianne Knowles
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The overall objective of this project was to investigate the role of locally derived growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins in regulating prepubertal heifer mammary development. In the first experiment, short-term treatment of heifers with GH or E increased proliferation of mammary epithelial cells. Coinciding with increased epithelial cell proliferation, IGF-I protein increased and IGFBP-3 protein decreased within mammary tissues. Thus, proliferation was associated with an apparent net increase in the biological availability of IGF-I within the mammary gland. In the second experiment, decreased mammary development and epithelial cell proliferation in response to ovariectomy coincided with decreased mammary expression of IGF-I mRNA and decreased binding of IGF-I to mammary microsomes. Taken together, these results imply an important role for locally derived IGF-I in regulating heifer mammary development. However, in contrast to our hypothesis, IGF-I mRNA did not differ between cleared or intact mammary fat pad, suggesting that expression of IGF-I mRNA is not regulated by epithelial:stromal interactions. Neither ovariectomy or epithelial:stromal interactions influenced the mRNA expression of IGFBP-3 or IGFBP-5 within mammary tissues. Ovariectomy increased the proportion of ERa positive mammary epithelial cells. In contrast, GH administration to prepubertal heifers did not influence the proportion of ERa-positive epithelial cells. Interestingly, mammary development was more severely affected in heifers ovariectomized before six weeks of age than heifers ovariectomized at three months of age, implying a critical period of ovarian stimulation during the first six weeks of age. Localization of laminin, fibronectin, and collagen in mammary parenchyma suggested specific roles for extracellular matrix proteins in regulating mammary development and ductal morphogenesis. Laminin was decreased and fibronectin was increased by ovariectomy, suggesting a possible role for interactions between the ovary and extracellular matrix proteins within the heifer mammary gland. Finally, the mitogenic capacities of mammary tissue extracts from control and ovariectomized heifers did not differ in their ability to stimulate in vitro proliferation of MAC-T cells. In conclusion, the overall results support the hypothesis that locally derived IGF-I regulates prepubertal heifer mammary development. However, ERa expression and extracellular matrix proteins also appear to be important regulators of heifer mammary development.
- Doctoral Dissertations