Transgenic Research

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 73–84 | Cite as

Lactation performance of transgenic goats expressing recombinant human butyryl-cholinesterase in the milk

  • Hernan BaldassarreEmail author
  • Duncan K. Hockley
  • Monique Doré
  • Eric Brochu
  • Bernard Hakier
  • Xin Zhao
  • Vilceu Bordignon
Original Paper


The production of recombinant proteins in the milk of transgenic animals has attracted significant interest in the last decade, as a valuable alternative for the production of recombinant proteins that cannot be or are inefficiently produced using conventional systems based on microorganisms or animal cells. Several recombinant proteins of pharmaceutical and biomedical interest have been successfully expressed in high quantities (g/l) in the milk of transgenic animals. However, this productivity may be associated with a compromised mammary physiology resulting, among other things, from the extraordinary demand placed on the mammary secretory cells. In this study we evaluated the lactation performance of a herd of 50 transgenic goats expressing recombinant human butyryl-cholinesterase (rBChE) in the milk. Our findings indicate that high expression levels of rBChE (range 1–5 g/l) are produced in these animals at the expense of an impaired lactation performance. The key features characterizing these transgenic performances were the decreased milk production, the reduced milk fat content which was associated with an apparent disruption in the lipid secretory mechanism at the mammary epithelium level, and a highly increased presence of leukocytes in milk which is not associated with mammary infection. Despite of having a compromised lactation performance, the amount of rBChE produced per transgenic goat represents several orders of magnitude more than the amount of rBChE present in the blood of hundreds of human donors, the only other available source of rBChE for pharmaceutical and biodefense applications. As a result, this development constitutes another successful example in the application of transgenic animal technology.


Cholinesterase Transgenic Goat Lactation Lipid secretion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hernan Baldassarre
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Duncan K. Hockley
    • 1
  • Monique Doré
    • 2
  • Eric Brochu
    • 1
  • Bernard Hakier
    • 1
  • Xin Zhao
    • 3
  • Vilceu Bordignon
    • 3
  1. 1.PharmAthene IncMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Département de pathologie et microbiologie, Faculté de médecine vétérinaireUniversité de MontréalSt-HyacintheCanada
  3. 3.Department of Animal SciencesMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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