In ruminants, altered milking frequency influences milk production due to either an increase in the number of secretory mammary epithelial cells and/or the activity of these cells (Stelwagen 2001). Microarray studies examining the response of mammary epithelial cells to either increased (Connor et al. 2008) or decreased (Littlejohn et al. 2010) milking frequency, reportedaltered gene expression in several regulatory pathways. These changes would appear to be locally regulated within the mammary gland, as milk production is different in different glands within the same udder depending on the milking frequency of individual glands (Stelwagen 2001). Therefore, the udder lends itself well as a model system to study the effect of different milking frequencies by comparing the response in adjacent udder halves (Murney et al. 2012).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 73, Hamilton, 45-47, 2013
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