Lineage-specific markers of goat mammary cells in primary culture



The objective of this study was morphological and functional characterization of cells from the primary cell culture developed from lactating goat mammary gland, focusing on distribution of lineage-specific markers. Primary cells were grown on a thin layer of basement membrane matrix, a growth surface that resembles in vivo conditions. The cells in adherent conditions rapidly proliferated and showed cobblestone morphology, typical for epithelial cells. Under non-adherent conditions, goat mammary cells formed spherical, acini-like structures that resembled alveoli of lactating mammary gland. Immunofluorescence and RNA sequencing were employed to determine expression of lineage-specific markers. Presence of markers cytokeratin 14 and 18, integrin alpha 6, vimentin, estrogen receptor, smooth muscle actin, and cytokeratin 5 was detected using immunofluorescence. The greatest expression was observed for markers typical for myoepithelial cells, luminal cells, and mesenchymal cells. Based on our characterization, we can conclude that established primary culture was composed of mainly epithelial and stromal cells. These findings demonstrate that primary mammary cells express some of the most important functional and biochemical markers needed for their characterization. First, they grow in the characteristic cobblestone morphology of epithelial cells. Second, they express classical cytoplasmic network of cytokeratin fibers. Third, they express markers typical of mammary parenchyma and stroma. The established cell culture represents a good in vitro model for studies of mammary gland development, differentiation, and lactation. We suggest that herein revealed lineage markers are suitable for characterization of mammary cells of goat and possibly other mammalian species.


Cell culture Goat Mammary gland Immunofluorescence Markers RNA sequencing 


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Copyright information

© The Society for In Vitro Biology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Prpar Mihevc
    • 1
  • Jernej Ogorevc
    • 1
  • Peter Dovc
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Science, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaDomzaleSlovenia

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