Download the full-sized PDF of Elucidating the effects of photoperiod during gestation and lactation on mammary gene expression and function in cows and miceDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Elucidating the effects of photoperiod during gestation and lactation on mammary gene expression and function in cows and mice Open Access


Other title
Mammary gland
Gene expression
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bentley, Pamela AP
Supervisor and department
Dixon, Walter (Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science)
McFadden, Thomas (Animal Science - University of Missouri)
Examining committee member and department
Davidge, Sandra (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Baracos, Vickie (Oncology)
Collier, Robert (Animal Sciences - University of Arizona)
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
Animal Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Photoperiod, or day length, generates a highly accurate biological calendar that allows animals to anticipate and adapt to environmental change throughout the year. Photoperiod coordinates both daily and yearly rhythms associated with sleep/wake cycles, behavior, and reproduction, including mammary development and milk production. In dairy cows, long day (summer-like) photoperiod during lactation, or short day (winter-like) photoperiod during late gestation, enhances milk production. Potential mediators of these effects include changes in mammary cell-turnover and hormonal signaling factors. The effects of photoperiod on the mammary transcriptome and subsequently the molecular mechanisms underlying the milk yield response have not been elucidated. The aim of the work presented here is to identify genes and pathways responsive to photoperiod and associate their differential expression with functional effects of photoperiod in the mammary gland. To address this aim we employed microarray technology in two model systems, cows and mice, with the objectives of: 1. Evaluate the effects of photoperiod on the mammary transcriptome of cows. 2. Identify common effects of photoperiod on mammary function in cows and mice. 3. Evaluate the effects of photoperiod on the mammary transcriptome in mice. 4. Determine if physiological state (gestation or lactation) influences the effects of photoperiod on the mammary transcriptome. 5. Assess common biology between the cow and mouse models. In the bovine mammary gland, we identified 64 photoperiod responsive genes and have interpreted these genes and their associated functions in the context of the mammary gland. Differentially expressed genes were associated with mammary development and immune function consistent with the enhancement of milk production in the ensuing lactation. The transcriptomic signatures across time relative to parturition were not consistent with those in response to photoperiod, suggesting different underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, genes identified in the interaction of photoperiod and time indicate the physiological state of the mammary gland during late gestation influences its response to photoperiod. In the mouse, mammary cell proliferation and gene expression signatures provide substantial evidence that photoperiod can affect the ability of the mouse mammary gland to produce milk, although, we were unable to detect effects of photoperiod on litter weight. Overall, our findings provide several novel insights about the effects of photoperiod on the mammary transcriptome. Firstly, photoperiod manipulation is sufficient stimulation to affect the mouse mammary transcriptome. To that end, we have determined that long day and short day photoperiod affect very different sets of genes that are associated with distinct biological functions. In addition, photoperiod differentially affects gene expression in the mammary gland depending on the physiological state. Lastly, photoperiod can have enduring effects after the cessation of exposure on the mammary transcriptome. Ultimately, this work reveals that photoperiod manipulation induces changes in the mammary transcriptome during both lactation and gestation. The genes and pathways identified here have been grouped into six potential mechanisms that may underlie the effects of photoperiod on mammary development and function in cows and mice.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 5628445
Last modified: 2015:10:22 06:05:49-06:00
Filename: Bentley_Pamela_AP_201501_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: f2f5db11bac0bcc0d3cedb5dd9da1b53
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date