Lactation Physiology

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with adequate knowledge of the physiology and endocrinology of the mammary gland, the composition of milk and colostrum, the functional activity of milk and its technological characteristics, the characteristics and use of substitute milk. The differences between the species will be analyzed for each topic. In addition, the course aims to develop the student's ability to highlight the link between structure and function for the acquisition of a general vision of the physiological processes that lead to the production of milk. The student must be able to evaluate the quality and technological characteristics of the milk product and to be able to expose the topics covered with an appropriate language.
Expected learning outcomes
The student must be able to:
1) know the physiology of the mammary gland (development and its regulation)
2) know the endocrinology of lactation and milk ejection reflex
3) know how the alveolar cells of the breast produce the various milk components
4) Highlight the link between structure and function
5) Acquire an integrated view of the physiological mechanisms that regulate breast development, milk production and ejection
6) Know the composition of colostrum and milk also in the different species
7) Understanding pathophysiological situations that determine a reduction or altered milk production
8) Know the functional and technological characteristics of milk
9) Highlight the link between functional and technological characteristics and product quality
10) Replacement milk
11) Acquire a correct terminology
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
1) Structure and development of the mammary gland and its regulation
2) Endocrinology of lactation and Milk ejection reflex
3) Colostrum, composition and functions
4) Milk, composition and its variability
5) Milk, differences in composition between species
6) Milk production by alveolar cells
7) Proteins of milk - caseins, albumins, globulins and minor proteins
8) Milk protein coagulation
9) Milk lipids - triglycerides, steroids and milk globules
10) Lactose
11) Functional characteristics of milk
12) Alternative milks
Prerequisites for admission
General physiology concepts, mainly endocrinology and lactation physiology
Teaching methods
- Frontal lessons in classroom concerning all the topics of the program;
- Seminars in the classroom on topics of particular interest to carry out in group;
- Possible observations in the farm of 2 hours each with the students divided in groups
Teaching Resources
"Physiology of Domestic Animals" 2nd edition, by Sjaastad O.V., Sand O., Hove K. 2010. Scandinavian Veterinary Press
"Anatomia e fisiologia degli animali domestici" Bortolami, Callegari e Beghelli, edagricole, 1982
"Manuale di Fisiologia Veterinaria" James G. Cunningam Antonio Delfino Editore
"Textbook of Veterinary Physiology" James G. Cunningam, by Saunders Company- Philadelphia
Lecture notes and material provided by the teacher
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam includes a written test after which the student access to the oral exam.
The written test is designed to verify the ability to apply correctly the theoretical knowledge. The written test consists in 30 multiple choice questions. The test has a duration of 1 hour. The student is admitted to the oral exam if a score higher then 18 is reached.
The oral exam is designed to assess the level of knowledge and comprehension reached by the student on the content of the program. In addition, this test is used for verifying the communication skills of the student, the properties of language and the organization of the presentation. The oral exam consists of 3 questions concerning the topics covered in the teaching.
VET/02 - VETERINARY PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 16 hours
Professor: Brecchia Gabriele
Educational website(s)