A method was developed to isolate mammary cell clumps (acini), from lactating sheep and maintain these in culture for more than 48 h. Performance of these cells was assessed by the measurement of lactose secreted into media using a sensitive bioluminescence assay. Lactose production was dependent upon cell density at seeding, lactose output per cell being 5-6 fold higher (6-7 fmol/cell/h) at 0.25x10 6 cells per ml medium compared to 2.5x10 6 cells per ml medium over 24 h of culture. Lactose output declined with time in culture, irrespective of cell density, falling to <1 fmol/cell/h over the period 24-48 h. 2-deoxy glucose uptake by mammary cells tended to increase with time in culture. 2-deoxy glucose uptake was significantly higher in cells from starved sheep (p<0.05) and in cells cultured in medium containing foetal calf serum, insulin, hydrocortisone, prolactin and prostaglandin E2 (p<0.001). Lactose output of acini was not affected by starvation of the ewe for 18 h before removing mammary tissue, and increased slightly (11%) at low cell density in response to the additions of hormones and/or foetal calf serum to culture medium (p<0.05).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 53, , 95-100, 1993
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