Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 101–113 | Cite as

Changes in oestrogen, progesterone and epidermal growth factor receptor concentrations and affinities during the oestrous cycle in the normal mammary gland and uterus of dogs

  • I. Donnay
  • P. Wouters-Ballman
  • N. Devleeschouwer
  • G. Leclercq
  • J. Verstegen


Changes in the concentrations and affinities of receptors for oestrogen (ER), progesterone (PR) and epidermal growth factor (EGF-R) were studied in mammary glands of healthy bitches with regard to age, the location in the mammary chain and the stage of the oestrous cycle. Uterus was used as the reference tissue for the evaluation of steroid receptors. Mammary and uterine samples from 7 healthy bitches were taken at five stages of the oestrous cycle in such a way that all the locations in the mammary chain were represented at each stage of the cycle (10 samples/dog). ER, PR and EGF-R were detected by biochemical assays using increasing concentrations of tritiated (steroids) or iodinated (EGF) ligands. A significant direct correlation was found between the ER and PR concentrations for mammary and uterine samples. No significant correlation was found between the steroid receptors and EGF-R concentrations. Mammary ER concentrations were significantly higher in bitches of 5 years of age or older than in younger ones; in posterior glands (4th and 5th pairs) than in anterior glands; and in the mid-luteal phase. Mammary PR did not vary significantly with age or location but was significantly lower in the early luteal phase than in other phases. A similar decrease in PR concentrations was observed in the uterus during the early luteal phase and uterine ER and PR concentrations were very low in the mid-luteal phase. Mammary EGF-R were not significantly higher in the early or mid-luteal phase than in pro-oestrus or anoestrus.

The differences observed between the uterine and mammary steroid receptor concentrations during the oestrous cycle could be due to different mechanisms for regulating steroid receptor expression in the two tissues. Mammary EGF-R concentrations may be linked, as in other species, to cellular proliferation and/or to the serum progesterone concentrations.


age bitch dog epidermal growth factor mammary gland oestrogen oestrous cycle progesterone receptor uterus 



bovine serum albumin


epidermal growth factor


receptor for epidermal growth factor


oestrogen receptor


dissociation constant


luteinizing hormone


probability of error


progesterone receptor


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers bv 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Donnay
    • 1
  • P. Wouters-Ballman
    • 1
  • N. Devleeschouwer
    • 2
  • G. Leclercq
    • 2
  • J. Verstegen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Small Animals ReproductionUniversity of LiègeLiège
  2. 2.Laboratory of Breast Cancer ResearchInstitut BordetBrusselsBelgium

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