Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 293–304 | Cite as

The Role of Glucocorticoids in Secretory Activation and Milk Secretion, a Historical Perspective



In this review we present our current understanding of the role of glucocorticoids in secretory activation and milk secretion by looking at the literature from a historical perspective. We begin with the early endocrine ablation experiments and continue from there to show that glucocorticoids are not just necessary for secretory activation and milk secretion—but mandatory. Specifically, we discuss the importance of glucocorticoids to: (1) induce the formation of ultrastructural components necessary to support milk synthesis and secretion, including rough endoplasmic reticulum and tight junction sealing; (2) regulate milk protein gene expression; and (3) prevent the second phase of involution, possibly by preventing the breakdown of the extracellular matrix.


Glucocorticoid Secretory activation Milk sythesis 





corticotropin releasing hormone


extracellular matrix


glucocorticoid receptor


glucocorticoid response element


transcription factor


nuclear factor κB


activating protein-1


CRE-binding protein


signal transducer and activator of transcription 5












rough endoplasmic reticulum


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Science, Anthony B290Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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