Significant alterations in maternal calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) balance occur during lactation. Ca2+ is the primary divalent cation mobilized into breast milk by demineralization of the skeleton and alterations in intestinal and renal Ca2+ transport. Mg2+ is also concentrated in breast milk, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. To determine the molecular alterations in Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport in the intestine and kidney during lactation, three groups of female mice consisting of either nonpregnant controls, lactating mice, or mice undergoing involution were examined. The fractional excretion of Ca2+, but not Mg2+, rose significantly during lactation. Renal 1-α hydroxylase and 24-OHase mRNA levels increased markedly, as did plasma 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D levels. This was accompanied by significant increases in intestinal expression of Trpv6 and S100g in lactating mice. However, no alterations in the expression of cation-permeable claudin-2, claudin-12, or claudins-15 were found in the intestine. In the kidney, increased expression of Trpv5 and Calb1 was observed during lactation, while no changes in claudins involved in Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport (claudin-2, claudin-14, claudin-16, or claudin-19) were found. Consistent with the mRNA expression, expression of both calbindin-D28K and transient receptor potential vanilloid 5 (TRPV5) proteins increased. Colonic Trpm6 expression increased during lactation, while renal Trpm6 remained unaltered. In conclusion, proteins involved in transcellular Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport pathways increase during lactation, while expression of paracellular transport proteins remained unchanged. Increased fractional Ca2+ excretion can be explained by vitamin D-dependent intestinal hyperabsorption and bone demineralization, despite enhanced transcellular Ca2+ uptake by the kidney.
Keywords: TRPM6; TRPV5; calbindin; claudin; kidney.
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