Mammary fat can adjust prolactin effect on mammary epithelial cells via Leptin and estrogen

Avi Shamay*, Yonatan Feuermann, Sameer J. Mabjeesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Leptin, like estrogen, is one of the endo/paracrine factors, which are synthesized in and secreted from mature adipocytes. The roles of the mammary fat pad and mammary adipocytes in the initiation of lactation are not clear. In this study, we showed that combination of prolactin, leptin and estrogen elevated the expression of the milk protein beta-lactoglobulin. We also showed that after prolactin stimulate the secretion of leptin from the mammary fat, leptin upregulated the expression of estrogen receptor alpha in the mammary epithelial cells. Also, prolactin affected aromatase mRNA expression in the bovine mammary fat and we demonstrated that leptin and prolactin can affect cholesterol secretion from explants in culture to the medium. Therefore, we suggest that prolactin initiates estrogen expression (as represented by aromatase mRNA) in the mammary fat pad, whereas leptin stimulates estrogen receptor alpha expression in the mammary epithelial cells. We hypothesize that leptin and estrogen, secreted from the mammary fat regulate lactation after stimulation of prolactin.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number427260
JournalInternational Journal of Endocrinology
StatePublished - 2009


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