Polymeric-Ig receptor gene expression in rabbit mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation: evolution and hormonal regulation

Roberto Rosato, Hélène Jammes, Lucette Belair, Claudine Puissant, Jean Pierre Kraehenbuhl, Jean Djiane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (poly Ig-R) mediates transcytosis of IgA and IgM antibodies produced by local plasma cells across epithelial cells of mucosal and glandular tissues. Gene expression of the poly-Ig R was analyzed in rabbit mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation. The poly Ig-R was expressed as early as day 8 (G8) of gestation and mRNA accumulation remained low until about G18. From G21, the mRNA abundance increased and reached steady state levels ∼5-fold higher at day 15 of lactation (L15) when compared to basal levels at G8. The hormonal regulation of poly-Ig receptor gene expression was assessed in mammary organ cultures. Poly-Ig R mRNA accumulation in mammary explants cultured for 24 or 48 h in the presence of ovine prolactin (oPRL) was significantly increased to a maximal 4-fold level at 1 μg ml-1 of oPRL. Estradiol (100 pg ml-1) or progesterone (1 μg ml-1) did not further stimulate poly-Ig R expression. In contrast, their combination resulted in a significant 30-50% decrease of poly-Ig-R mRNA levels. The addition of 1 μg ml-1 of cortisol to medium in the absence or presence of estradiol or progesterone decreased the amount of poly-Ig-R mRNA. The results suggest that until mid-pregnancy, polyIg-R expression is inhibited by elevated progesterone-estradiol concentrations and that the subsequent increase is due to the concomitant decrease of the two circulating steroids and the increase of serum prolactin levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 28 1995


  • Gene expression
  • Mammary gland
  • Polymeric Ig-receptor
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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