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Regulation of Lactation

by Thad Wilson, PhD
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    If we talk through the endocrine response that allows for the milk to be produced as well as let down to get to the right spot, we have four different classifications of endocrine hormones we need to discuss. The first are mammogenic. These promote alveolar and ductal cells so that you can produce more milk. Things that are involved in this manner are estrogens, growth hormones, cortisol, progestins, prolactin, and even relaxin. All of those help this proliferation of breast tissue in response to pregnancy and lactation. Then you have lactogenic-specific hormones and these help by initiating milk production. So if you initiate production, this is getting the process started of getting those secretions across so that you have milk collecting in those open areas of those alveolar cells. Prolactin is a great example of a hormone that does this. We also have hCS. Now hCS is not hCG that you measured to determine if someone is pregnant, this is a different hormone. We'll get to it in just a second. Cortisol, insulin, insulin-like growth factor, all are lactogenic and they promote milk production. Thyroid hormones can also have a small role as well. Interestingly if you start to change hormone levels, this can also stimulate this process. So if you start to remove estrogens and progestins, this will also allow for the initiation of milk production. There are galactokinetic hormones and this particular thing will be to help to get the milk out, which is milk ejection. This is contracting of mild epithelial cells to be able to get the milk to the right place, so when the infant suckles, it will be able to drink the milk. Oxytocin is the most important hormone at this regard and this is released from the posterior pituitary. Then you also have...

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    The lecture Regulation of Lactation by Thad Wilson, PhD is from the course Reproductive Physiology.


    Author of lecture Regulation of Lactation

     Thad Wilson, PhD

    Thad Wilson, PhD


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