Article

Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 299-310

The Tammar Wallaby: A Model to Study Putative Autocrine-Induced Changes in Milk Composition

  • Kevin NicholasAffiliated withDivision of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Victorian Institute of Animal Science Email author 
  • , Kaylene SimpsonAffiliated withDivision of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Victorian Institute of Animal ScienceSchool of Agriculture, LaTrobe University
  • , Michael WilsonAffiliated withDivision of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Victorian Institute of Animal ScienceHuman Immunogenetics Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund
  • , Josephine TrottAffiliated withDivision of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Victorian Institute of Animal ScienceDepartment of Zoology, Melbourne University
  • , Denis ShawAffiliated withProtein Biochemistry Group, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University

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Abstract

The marsupial newborn is immature and the mother has the capacity to alter milk composition significantly during lactation, presumably to meet the nutritional requirements of the developing young. Furthermore, macropodid marsupials may practice asynchronous concurrent lactation (ACL)7whereby the mother provides milk which differs in all the major components from adjacent mammary glands for two young of different ages. This phenomenon suggests that local regulation of mammary function, in addition to endocrine stimuli, is likely to be important for controlling milk composition. This paper explores the possibility that changes in sucking patterns of the young represent the first step in a mechanism to signal the mammary gland for putative autocrine-induced changes in milk composition.

Marsupial milk protein composition asynchronous concurrent lactation sucking patterns autocrine regulation milk protein genes