Journal of Dairy Research

Research Article

Regional accretion of gelatinase B in mammary gland during gradual and acute involution of dairy animals

Ming H Wenga1 p1, Ting C Yua1, Shuen E Chena1, Ho C Peha1, Wen B Liua1, Ming T Chena2, Hajemi Nagahataa3 and Chai J Changa1 c1

a1 Department of Animal Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, TaiwanROC

a2 Department of Bioindustry Technology, Da Yeh University, Chung Hwa 515, TaiwanROC

a3 Department of Animal Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, Hokkaido 069-8501, Japan


The level of gelatinases in surrounding body fluids of actively remodelling tissue is indicative of basement membrane and extracellular matrix degradation under various physiological and pathological circumstances. To elucidate the association of gelatinase with mammary tissue remodelling during gradual or acute involution, in the first trial, goats milked twice daily (lactation) and goats receiving decreased milking frequency (involution) served to provide a total of 12 milk samples and 11 mammary secretion samples, respectively. In the second trial, 6 cows served to provide samples of dry secretion in 3 consecutive weeks immediately following milk stasis. Gelatin zymography was applied for gelatinase phenotyping and quantification on milk, plasma and the degranulation medium/lysate of milk somatic cells. Results indicated that the most prevalent gelatinase subtype switched from gelatinase A in milk to gelatinase B in involution secretion. Mammary secretion of goats during involution contained marginally higher protein level, significantly lower casein ratio and greater specific capacity of gelatinase B compared with those of milk during lactation. Specific capacities of gelatinases A and B in plasma of goats were similar during lactation and involution, while gelatinase B capacity in degranulation medium/lysates based on unit number of goat somatic cell was significantly higher during involution than during lactation. Milk stasis of cows induced a significant increase in specific capacity of gelatinase B, but not gelatinase A, of dry secretion up to the third week. Results of both trials agree that regional selective accretion of gelatinase B in milk might have played a role in mammary tissue remodelling during involution induced by either decreasing milking frequency or milk stasis. It is suggested that infiltrated polymorphonuclear neutrophils are one of the potential contributors responsible for the accumulation of gelatinase B during involution.

(Received August 31 2007)

(Accepted January 29 2008)


c1 For correspondence; e-mail:

p1 Present address: Technological Department, King's Crown Nutrition Technology Co., LTD., Kaohsiung 802, Taiwan ROC