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Biology of the prolactin family in bovine placenta. I. Bovine placental lactogen: Expression, structure and proposed roles

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Bovine placenta produces an array of proteins that are structurally and functionally similar to pituitary prolactin. Bovine placental lactogen (bPL) is a glycoprotein hormone that has lactogenic and somatogenic properties. Purified bPL contains several kinds of isoforms that are created by alternative splicing and/or multiple glycosylation patterns. bPL can activate the prolactin (PRL) receptor-mediated signaling pathway as well as PRL does. The bPL mRNA is transcribed in trophoblast binucleate cells, and synthesized bPL protein is stored in membrane-bound secretory granules. The message encoding bPL is first detectable in trophoblast binucleate cells at approximately day 20 of gestation at, or shortly after, the appearance of binucleate cells in the trophoblast. Most binucleate cells are detected as expressed bPL in the placenta. Bovine PL may be the determinant in trophoblast differentiation. Although the biological activities of bPL have long been studied, the precise role of bPL is still largely unclear. This article reviews and discusses the biological roles of bPL, focusing on luteal function, fetal growth and pregnancy-associated maternal adaptation, mammogenesis and lactogenesis, and placental angiogenesis. The precise biological function of bPL needs to be further evaluated.
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Keywords: bovine; placenta; placental lactogen; prolactin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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