Nutrient Transport in the Mammary Gland: Calcium, Trace Minerals and Water Soluble Vitamins

  • Nicolas Montalbetti
  • Marianela G. Dalghi
  • Christiane Albrecht
  • Matthias A. Hediger


Milk nutrients are secreted by epithelial cells in the alveoli of the mammary gland by several complex and highly coordinated systems. Many of these nutrients are transported from the blood to the milk via transcellular pathways that involve the concerted activity of transport proteins on the apical and basolateral membranes of mammary epithelial cells. In this review, we focus on transport mechanisms that contribute to the secretion of calcium, trace minerals and water soluble vitamins into milk with particular focus on the role of transporters of the SLC series as well as calcium transport proteins (ion channels and pumps). Numerous members of the SLC family are involved in the regulation of essential nutrients in the milk, such as the divalent metal transporter-1 (SLC11A2), ferroportin-1 (SLC40A1) and the copper transporter CTR1 (SLC31A1). A deeper understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of these transporters will be of great value for drug discovery and treatment of breast diseases.


SLC transporters ABC transporters Calcium transporters and breast cancer 



ATP-binding cassette


Breast cancer resistance protein




Copper transporter


Duodenal cytochrome b


Divalent metal-ion transporter 1


Endoplasmic reticulum






Iron-responsive element


Iron-regulatory proteins


Mammary epithelial cells


Multidrug resistance associated protein


Proton-coupled folate transporter


Plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase


Reduced folate carrier


Riboflavin transporters


Sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+- ATPase


Solute carrier


Sodium-coupled monocarboxylate cotransporters


Sodium-coupled multivitamin transporter


Secretory pathway Ca2+-ATPase


Six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate


Sodium-coupled vitamin C transporter


Transferrin receptor-1


Transient receptor potential


ZRT, IRT-like Protein


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research, NCCR TransCureUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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