Indexed on: 14 Jun '18Published on: 13 Jun '18Published in: Nutrition & Metabolism
Lactose synthesis rate is an important factor in milk production and quality in mammals. Understanding the lactose synthesis mechanism is crucial for the improvement of milk quantity and quality. However, research on the temporal gene changes regarding lactose synthesis during the whole lactation is still limited. The objective of this study was to determine gene expression profiles related to lactose synthesis in sows during lactation, and further identify the critical steps or key factors in the lactose synthesis pathway.To determine the temporal change of factors related to lactose synthesis in sows, milk from eight multiparous Yorkshire sows (parity 3 to 6) was collected at 0 h, 2 h, 6 h, 12 h, 24 h, day 2, 3, 4, 7, 14, and 21 after birth of the first piglet. Lactose content, prolactin and progesterone concentration, and gene or protein expression related to lactose synthesis were measured.The lactose yield increased gradually from D2 to D21 and reached a maximum at D14 (3-fold from D2) during lactation (P < 0.05). A similar trend was observed in IGF-1 and insulin concentrations in milk, both of which were greatest at D3 with a subsequent decrease during middle to late lactation. Conversely, milk prolactin and progesterone concentrations moderately decreased with the progression of lactation. The mRNA or protein expressions related to glucose transportation (GLUT1), glucose-galactose interconversion (HK1 and UGP2), UDP-galactose transportation (SLC35A2), and lactose synthetase (LALBA and B4GALT1) in the lactose synthesis pathway were significantly upregulated during early to middle lactation and plateaued by late lactation (P < 0.05).These novel findings suggest that the increased lactose synthesis in lactation was related to the coordinated upregulation of genes or enzymes in the lactose synthesis pathway, and glucose transportation (GLUT1) and lactose synthetase (LALBA and B4GALT1) might be the critical steps in the lactose synthesis pathway of sows during lactation.