a1 INRA UMR 1080 Dairy Production, F-35000 Rennes, France
a2 AGROCAMPUS UMR 1080 Dairy Production, F-35000 Rennes, France
The objective of this study was to provide insight into the biological mechanisms underlying mammary development and the role of the ovaries in prepubertal caprine mammogenesis using a serial ovariectomy approach. Young Alpine goats were ovariectomized (Ovx) or sham-operated (Int) at three periods before puberty (G1=1 month, G2=2 month and G3=3 months of age) and one after puberty (G7=7 months of age). The goats were slaughtered at 9 months of age and mammary glands were removed. Ovariectomy performed at 1, 2 and 3 months of age caused a 50% reduction in DNA concentration, in mammary tissue taken from the parenchyma-stroma border region. Morphological analysis of mammary tissue sections indicated that the parenchymal structures of Ovx goats were negatively affected by ovariectomy. Goats ovariectomized before 2 months of age (Ovx-1 and Ovx-2) showed a significant decrease in the percent of cells proliferating in mammary glands of 9-month old goats (proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression and antigen Ki67-positive cell number). Also, goats ovariectomized at 1 and 2 months of age had reduced matrix metalloprotease 2 activity at 9 months of age. E-cadherin was strongly decreased in goats ovariectomized before 2 months of age (80 and 85% in Ovx-1 and Ovx-2 goats, respectively). Quantitative PCR analysis of transcripts encoding for oestrogen (ERα) and progesterone receptors (PR) and immunodetection of ERα showed that ovariectomy at 1 and 2 months of age strongly inhibited the transcription of ERα and PR in the mammary gland. We conclude that ovariectomy before 3 months of age markedly impaired parenchymal development. These findings suggest that prepubertal mammogenesis in goats depends on the ovaries to initiate mammary epithelial cell proliferation and mammary gland remodelling.
(Received September 29 2011)
(Accepted December 02 2011)
(Online publication February 20 2012)