Characterization of raft microdomains in bovine mammary tissue during lactation: How they are modulated by fatty acid treatments

J Dairy Sci. 2021 Feb;104(2):2384-2395. doi: 10.3168/jds.2020-19267. Epub 2020 Nov 25.


The objective of the current study was first to characterize lipid raft microdomains isolated as detergent-resistant membranes (DRM) from mammary gland tissue, and second to determine how dietary fatty acids (FA) such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), 19:1 cyclo, and long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated FA affect lipid raft markers of mammary cells, and to finally establish relationships between these markers and lactation performance in dairy cows. Eight Holstein cows were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with periods of 28 d. For the first 14 d, cows received daily an abomasal infusion of (1) 406 g of a saturated FA supplement (112 g of 16:0 + 230 g of 18:0) used as a control; (2) 36 g of a CLA supplement (13.9 g of trans-10,cis-12 18:2) + 370 g of saturated FA; (3) 7 g of Sterculia fetida oil (3.1 g of 19:1 cyclo, STO) + 399 g of saturated FA; or (4) 406 g of fish oil (55.2 g of cis-5,cis-8,cis-11,cis-14,cis-17 20:5 + 59.3 g of cis-4,cis-7,cis-10,cis-13,cis-16,cis-19 22:6, FO). Mammary biopsies were harvested on d 14 of each infusion period and were followed by a 14-d washout interval. Cholera toxin subunit B, which specifically binds to ganglioside M-1 (GM-1), a lipid raft marker, was used to assess its distribution in DRM. Infusions of CLA, STO, and FO were individually compared with the control, and significance was declared at P ≤ 0.05. Milk fat yield was decreased with CLA and FO, but was not affected by STO. Milk lactose yield was decreased with CLA and STO, but was not affected by FO. Mammary tissue shows a strong GM-1-signal enrichment in isolated DRM from mammary gland tissue. Caveolin (CAV) and flotillin (FLOT) are 2 proteins considered as lipid raft markers and they are present in DRM from mammary gland tissue. Distributions of GM-1, CAV-1, and FLOT-1 showed an effect of treatments determined by their subcellular distributions in sucrose gradient fractions. Regardless of treatments, data showed positive relationships between the yield of milk fat, protein, and lactose, and the abundance GM-1 in DRM fraction. Milk protein yield was positively correlated with relative proportion of FLOT-1 in the soluble fraction, whereas lactose yield was positively correlated with relative proportion of CAV-1 in the DRM fractions. Infusion of CLA decreased mRNA abundance of CAV-1, FLOT-1, and FLOT-2. Regardless of treatments, a positive relationship was observed between fat yield and mRNA abundance of FLOT-2. In conclusion, although limited to a few markers, results of the current experiment raised potential links between variation in specific biologically active component of raft microdomains in bovine mammary gland and lactation performances in dairy cows.

Keywords: caveolin; conjugated linoleic acid; flotillin; long-chain n-3 fatty acid; sterculic acid.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Veterinary

MeSH terms

  • Abomasum / metabolism
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / pharmacology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects*
  • Membrane Microdomains / drug effects
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism
  • Sterculia


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fish Oils
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated
  • Milk Proteins