Post-weaning increases in the milk-fat globule EGF-factor VIII on fat globules in mouse milk and in the uptake of the fat globules by HC11 mammary epithelial cells

Hajime Nakatani, Takehiko Yasueda, Kenzi Oshima, Tetsuya Okajima, Daita Nadano, David J Flint, Tsukasa Matsuda

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Milk fat globules (MFGs) secreted by lactating mammary gland are unique lipid surrounded by a phospholipid bi-layer. We report here post-weaning changes in milk fat globule EGF factor VIII (MFG-E8) and annexin V-accessible phosphatidylserine on the surface of MFGs. The MFG content in milk markedly decreased to about half within 2 days after forced weaning, despite a slight increase in milk protein content. Immunofluorescence-staining of MFGs using anti-MFG-E8 and annexin V indicated that MFG-E8 was present on some, but not all, MFGs before weaning, whereas most of MFGs were MFG-E8-positive and annexin V-negative after weaning. Free MFG-E8 with binding activity to phosphatidylserine was present abundantly in the post-weaning milk, and indeed exhibited binding to MFGs in pre-weaning milk. MFGs were taken up by HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells in vitro, and those from post-weaning milk were remarkable for such cellular uptake. Moreover, the uptake of MFGs by the cells was inhibited by an anti-MFG-E8 antibody. Taken together, these findings suggest that MFG-E8 plays a critical role in regulation of MFG dynamics after weaning or during the suckling interval through the control of MFG-epithelial cell interaction in lactating mammary glands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
Early online date3 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2013


  • mammary gland
  • lactation
  • involution
  • milk fat globule membrane
  • fat metabolism

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