Longitudinal analysis of bovine mammary gland development

Alysia L. Vang, Tiago Bresolin, Waneska S. Frizzarini, Guilherme L. Menezes, Thiago Cunha, Guilherme J.M. Rosa, Laura L. Hernandez, Joao R.R. Dorea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies on bovine mammary glands focus on one stage of development. Often missing in those studies are repeated measures of development from the same animals. As milk production is directly affected by amount of parenchymal tissue within the udder, understanding mammary gland growth along with visualization of its structures during development is essential. Therefore, analysis of ultrasound and histology data from the same animals would result in better understanding of mammary development over time. Thus, this research aimed to describe mammary gland development using non-invasive and invasive tools to delineate growth rate of glandular tissue responsible for potential future milk production. Mammary gland ultrasound images, biopsy samples, and blood samples were collected from 36 heifer dairy calves beginning at 10 weeks of age, and evaluated at 26, 39, and 52 weeks. Parenchyma was quantified at 10 weeks of age using ultrasound imaging and histological evaluation, and average echogenicity was utilized to quantify parenchyma at later stages of development. A significant negative correlation was detected between average echogenicity of parenchyma at 10 weeks and total adipose as a percent of histological whole tissue at 52 weeks. Additionally, a negative correlation between average daily gain at 10 and 26 weeks and maximum echogenicity at 52 weeks was present. These results suggest average daily gain and mammary gland development prior to 39 weeks of age is associated with development of the mammary gland after 39 weeks. These findings could be predictors of future milk production, however this must be further explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Bovine
  • Development
  • Holstein
  • Mammary gland
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Longitudinal analysis of bovine mammary gland development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this