MicroRNA expression patterns in the bovine mammary gland are affected by stage of lactation

M. Wang, S. Moisá, M. J. Khan, J. Wang, D. Bu, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this work was to determine the expression pattern of microRNA (miR) associated with cellular proliferation, lipid metabolism, and innate immunity in dairy cow mammary gland tissue at different stages of lactation. The expression of miR-10a, miR-15b, miR-16, miR-21, miR-31, miR-33b, miR-145, miR-146b, miR-155, miR-181a, miR-205, miR-221, and miR-223 was studied by real-time reverse-transcription PCR in tissue (n = 7/stage) harvested via repeated biopsies during the dry period (-30 d prepartum), the fresh period (7 d postpartum), and early lactation (30 d postpartum). Except for miR-31, all miR studied increased in expression between the dry and fresh periods. Among those upregulated, the expression of miR-221 increased further at early lactation, suggesting a role in the control of endothelial cell proliferation or angiogenesis, whereas the expression of miR-223 decreased at early lactation but to a level that was greater than in the dry period, suggesting it could play a role in the mammary response to pathogens soon after parturition. The expression of miR-31, a hormonally regulated miR that inhibits cyclin gene expression, was greater at early lactation compared with the dry period. From a metabolic standpoint, the consistent upregulation of miR-33b during early lactation compared with the dry period suggests that this miR may exert some control over lipogenesis in mammary tissue. Overall, results indicate that expression of miR associated with transcriptional regulation of genes across diverse biological functions is altered by stage of lactation. The specific roles of these miR during lactation will require further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6529-6535
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Dairy cow
  • Lactation
  • Mammary gland
  • Microribonucleic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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