Immunohistochemical Study of the Stromal Cells in the Lactating Bovine Mammary Gland

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The bovine mammary gland is a special gland characterized by high secretory activity. During lactation the cellular and fibrous components of the interstitial tissue septa are exposed to store accumulated secretory products. The aim of this study was to find and study the cells in the stroma of the bovine lactating mammary gland. For this purpose, the immunohistochemical methods and antibodies against the smooth muscle actin, vimentin, and desmin were used. The myoepithelial cells (MEC) which stained with smooth muscle actin (SMA), were found supporting the secretory units and the intralobular ducts. Coexpression of the SMA and desmin were found in the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels. The fibroblasts (myofibroblasts) and free cells positive to vimentin were located in the connective tissue septa. The results of this study on the mammary glands indicated that smooth muscle cells (SMC) were altered in the lactating mammary gland, with additional cells such as fibroblasts (myofibroblasts) participated in the storage and after milk let-down they allowed the mammary glands to return to their original state.

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