Endocrine changes during the peripartal period related to colostrogenesis in mammalian species.

Bigler, Naomi A; Gross, Josef J; Baumrucker, Craig R; Bruckmaier, Rupert M (2023). Endocrine changes during the peripartal period related to colostrogenesis in mammalian species. Journal of animal science, 101 Oxford University Press 10.1093/jas/skad146

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This review discusses endocrine and functional changes during the transition from late gestation to lactation that are related to the production of colostrum in different mammalian species. Species covered in this article include ungulate species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses), rodents (rat, mouse), rabbits and carnivores (cats, dogs), as well as humans. An immediate availability of high quality colostrum for the newborn after birth is crucial in species where a transfer of immunoglobulins (Ig) does not or only partially occur via the placenta during pregnancy. Declining activity of gestagens, in most species progesterone (P4), is crucial at the end of pregnancy to allow for the characteristic endocrine changes to initiate parturition and lactation, but the endocrine regulation of colostrogenesis is negligible. Both, the functional pathways and the timing of gestagen withdrawal differ considerably among mammalian species. In species with a sustaining corpus luteum (CL) throughout the entire pregnancy (cattle, goat, pig, cat, dog, rabbit, mouse and rat), a prostaglandin F2α(PGF2α)-induced luteolysis shortly before parturition is assumed to be the key event to initiate parturition as well as lactogenesis. In species where the gestagen production is taken over by the placenta during the course of gestation (e.g. sheep, horse and human), the reduction of gestagen activity is more complex, as PGF2α-does not affect placental gestagen production. In sheep the steroid hormone synthesis is directed away from P4 towards estradiol-17β (E2) to achieve a low gestagen activity at high E2 concentrations. In humans the uterus becomes insensitive to P4, as parturition occurs despite still high P4 concentrations. However, lactogenesis is not completed as long as P4 concentration is high. Early colostrum and thus Ig intake for immune protection is not needed for the human newborn which allows a delayed onset of copious milk secretion for days until the placenta expulsion causes the P4 drop. Like humans, horses do not need low gestagen concentrations for successful parturition. However, newborn foals need immediate immune protection through Ig intake with colostrum. This requires the start of lactogenesis before parturition which is not fully clarified. The knowledge of the endocrine changes and related pathways to control the key events integrating the processes of colostrogenesis, parturition, and start of lactation are incomplete in many species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Bigler, Naomi Ana, Gross, Josef Johann, Bruckmaier, Rupert


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Oxford University Press




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

10 May 2023 10:33

Last Modified:

14 Jun 2023 00:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

FcRn colostrogenesis endocrinology lactogenesis parturition





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