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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lactoferrin ( Lf): Retinoid interactions in the mammary glands of transgenic mice overexpressing human Lf.

Induction of protein expression in a tissue-specific manner by gene transfer over-expression techniques has been one means to define the function of a protein in a biological paradigm. Studies with retinoid reporter constructs transfected in mammary cell lines suggests that lactoferrin ( Lf) affects retinoid signaling pathways and alters apoptosis. We tested the effects and interactions of over-expressed mammary-specific human lactoferrin (hLf) and dietary retinol palmitate on lactation and mammary gland development in mice. Increased retinol palmitate in the diet increased daily retinol equivalents (RE) to 2.6-fold over the normal mouse control diet. Transgene (Tg) expression in the dam fed control diet depressed pup weight gain. Severe depression of pup weight gain was observed when homozygote TgTg dams were fed the RE diet. Normal weight gain was restored when pups were placed with a wild type dam fed the RE diet; conversely, normal growing pups from the wild type dams showed declining weight gains when fostered to the TgTg RE-fed dams. Northern analysis of mammary tissue extracts showed a reduction in WAP and an increase in IGFBP-3 mRNA that was associated with the presence of the transgene. Histological evaluation of 3 days lactating mammary tissue showed mammary epithelial cells from TgTg animals contained excessive secretory products, suggesting a block in cellular secretion mechanisms. In addition, the mammary cells displayed a cellular apical membrane puckering that extended into the alveoli lumens. These studies demonstrate an in vivo interaction of Tg-hLf expression and dietary retinoids in mouse mammary glands. While normal mammary gland physiology may not be representative by these experiments because high Lf concentrations during early lactation are abnormal, the demonstrated biological interaction suggests that typical periods of high Lf concentrations may have impact upon developing and involuting mammary glands.[1]


  1. Lactoferrin (Lf): Retinoid interactions in the mammary glands of transgenic mice overexpressing human Lf. Baumrucker, C.R., Saurer, S., Blum, J.W., Jungi, T., Friis, R.R. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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