subject: epithelial cells

The Fifteen Lives of Mammary Cells

The Fifteen Lives of Mammary Cells

How do mammary cells change and gain the ability to make milk at each birth? Scientists, at present, only have fragmentary information and little detail about the hierarchy of mammary cells contributing to the lactation cycle beginning at each pregnancy. A cellular hierarchy is like a family tree. It shows the relationships between different types of cells i.e., who begat whom. Knowledge of cellular hierarchies in mammary tissue could help answer many difficult questions. Which cells (progenitor cells) give rise to the cells that make milk or cells that form part of the mammary tissue structure supporting lactation? How do mammary epithelial cells cease producing milk after weaning? Which mammary cells develop into breast cancer and why? Recently, a group of investigators produced a massive molecular resource that may help answer these and many other questions relating to mammary tissue function. Importantly, the investigators made the resource available to all scientists to maximize its potential for additional discoveries. Read More...

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Large breasts are often considered more attractive, but how about their function as organs destined to produce milk for the nourishment of the baby? During pregnancy and, particularly during lactation, women are mostly interested in their breasts as sources of food and growth signals for their baby. But, especially among women with breastfeeding difficulties, it is common for women to wonder, “If I had larger breasts, would I produce more milk?” Read More...

Foraging for Answers: Cow Feed and Milk Fat

Foraging for Answers: Cow Feed and Milk Fat

The reason that milk is opaque and white is that it is full of very small beads, or globules, of fat. What may surprise milk drinkers, though, is that these globules are highly structured, having a center composed of three-tailed fatty acids, surrounded by a membrane of quite different chemical structures. The size of these globules varies a great deal, in ways that matter for industrial processes like cheese making, and defining how much of the fat in milk is saturated, The latest research into milk fat globules has taken some bold steps: the aim is to feed cows differently, monitor how this changes the size of the globules in their milk, and work out what exactly is going on in their udders as a result. Read More...

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