Production of parathyroid hormone-related protein by the rat mammary gland in pregnancy and lactation

M. Rakopoulos, S. J. Vargas, M. T. Gillespie, Patricia W M Ho, H. Diefenbach-Jagger, D. D. Leaver, V. Grill, J. M. Moseley, J. A. Danks, T. J. Martin

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Production of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) by the mammary gland of Sprague-Dawley rats has been examined using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to detect PTHrP and PTHrP mRNA, respectively. PTHrP and PTHrP mRNA could be demonstrated in nests of epithelial cells of the developing mammary gland at day 14 of pregnancy and in the epithelial secretory cells lining the alveoli during the latter stages of pregnancy and during lactation. A specific radioimmunoassay was also used to measure the concentration of PTHrP secreted in the milk throughout lactation. The concentration of PTHrP in milk was relatively low initially but increased during the latter stages of lactation, whereas calcium concentrations remained virtually constant throughout lactation. No correlation was found between the concentrations of calcium and PTHrP in rat milk. These results show that PTHrP is present in rat milk and also in mammary tissue before parturition, and therefore it may assist in the development of the mammary gland during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1077-E1085
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 26-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • calcium
  • milk
  • neonatal development

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