The neuropeptide galanin augments lobuloalveolar development

J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 1;278(31):29145-52. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M303746200. Epub 2003 May 20.


Mammary lobuloalveolar development during pregnancy is controlled by ovarian sex steroids and pituitary prolactin release. In organ culture these hormones are incapable of reproducing the density and size of lobuloalveoli seen in mice, suggesting the existence of other undiscovered factors. We showed previously that galanin knockout mice fail to lactate sufficiently for pup survival following their first pregnancy. Here we demonstrate that prolactin treatment of galanin knockout mice allows pup survival but does not completely rescue lobuloalveolar development or reduced milk protein expression. When galanin was used in combination with prolactin in mammary organ culture, larger and more numerous lobules were produced than with prolactin alone. Galanin alone produced sustained activation of STAT5a and the induction of milk protein expression but did not induce lobulogenesis. Examination of the transcriptional interaction between galanin and prolactin using oligonucleotide microarrays demonstrated synergistic and antagonistic modes of interaction between these hormones. These data establish a new role for galanin as a hormone augmenting mammary development during pregnancy in concert with prolactin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Interactions
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Female
  • Galanin / deficiency
  • Galanin / genetics
  • Galanin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Lactation
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / transplantation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Milk Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolactin / pharmacology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Stat5a protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Galanin
  • Prolactin