Leptin affects prolactin action on milk protein and fat synthesis in the bovine mammary gland

Y. Feuermann, S. J. Mabjeesh, A. Shamay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Leptin, a protein hormone produced and secreted predominantly by white adipose tissue, has a critical role in the regulation and coordination of energy metabolism. Identification of leptin in the milk of several mammals, including humans, led us to investigate its presence and regulatory effect in the cow mammary gland. The expression of leptin receptor in tissue culture of lactating mammary gland was augmented approximately 25 times by prolactin, but had no effect on virgin calf mammary tissue. Expression of leptin in tissue culture from mammary glands of lactating cows was enhanced 2.2-fold by prolactin. No effect of prolactin on leptin and leptin receptor expression was found in mammary gland tissue culture from calves. Leptin-enhanced fatty acid synthesis in the presence of prolactin, but had no effect without presence of prolactin. A similar pattern was found in the expression of α-casein and β-lactoglobulin in mammary gland explants from a lactating cow. Our findings indicate that leptin plays an important role in mammary gland lactogenesis, and that the expression of leptin requires the presence of prolactin.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2941-2946
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Bovine mammary gland
  • Fat synthesis
  • Leptin
  • Prolactin


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