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ferentiation of the mammary gland is well known. ffect the mammary stroma. To determine where PRLffects within the mammary gland, we fferent physiological stages.ffect on the mammary stroma and by that routeffect mammary gland development. However, it is not well established whether PRL acts solely on the mammary epithelia or if it can also directly a could exert its e investigated the levels of expression and the localization of the PRL receptor (PRLR) in the epithelia and stroma of the rat mammary gland at di For these studies, we isolated parenchymal-free ‘cleared’ fat pads and intact mammary glands from virgin, 18-daypregnant and 6-day-lactating rats. In addition, intact mammary tissues were enzymatically digested to obtain epithelial cells, free of stroma. The mammary tissues, intact gland, stroma and isolated epithelia, were then used for immunocytochemistry, protein extraction and isolation of total RNA. PRLR protein was detected in tissues using specific polyclonal antisera (PRLR-l) by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis. Messenger RNA for PRLR was measured by ribonuclease protection assay. Immunocytochemistry and Western blots with the PRLR-1 antisera detected PRLR in wild-type rat and mouse tissues, whereas the receptor protein was absent in tissues from PRLR gene-deficient mice. PRLR was found to be present both in the epithelia and stroma of mammary glands from virgin, pregnant and lactating rats, as determined by immunocytochemistry and Western blotting. Western blots revealed the predominance of three bands migrating at 88, 90 and 92 kDa in each of the rat mammary samples. These represent the long form of the PRLR. During pregnancy and lactation, PRLR protein increased in the epithelial compartment of the mammary gland but did not change within the stromal compartment at any physiological stage examined. We also found PRLR mRNA in both the epithelia and stroma ofthe mammary gland. Again, the stroma contained lower levels of PRLR mRNA compared with the epithelia at all physiological stages examined. Also, the PRLR mRNA levels within the stroma did not change significantly during pregnancy or lactation, whereas PRLR mRNA within the epithelia increased twofold during pregnancy and fourfold during lactation when compared with virgin rats. We conclude from this study that PRLR is expressed both in the stromal and epithelial compartment of the mammary gland. This finding suggests PRL may have a direct a
The importance of prolactin (PRL) in regulating growth and di
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