The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 6, pp 825–835 | Cite as

Morphological, hormonal, and molecular changes in different maternal tissues during lactation and post-lactation

  • Gustavo Canul-Medina
  • Cristina Fernandez-MejiaEmail author


Milk supply and quality during lactation are critical for progeny survival. Maternal tissues and metabolism, influenced by hormonal changes, undergo modification during lactation to sustain breastfeeding. Two organs that suffer essential adjustment are the mammary glands and the bone; however, renal calcium conservation and calcium absorption from the intestine are also modified. Lactation leads to a transient loss of bone minerals to provide adequate amounts of minerals, including calcium for milk production. Physiological, metabolic, and molecular changes in different tissues participate in providing nutrients for milk production. After weaning, the histological, metabolic, and hormonal modifications that take place in lactation are reverted, and bone remineralization is a central function at this time. This study focuses on the hormonal, metabolic, molecular, and tissue modifications that occur in mammary glands, bone, intestine, and kidneys in the mother during lactation and post-weaning periods.


Lactation Mammary gland Bone Intestine 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Karina Pastén-Hidalgo and Dr. Leticia Riverón-Negrete for valuable discussions. This work was supported by Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico, PAPIIT: IN 206617, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and by Fondos Federales, Recursos Fiscales 2017 number 031/2015. Gustavo Canul Medina is a Ph.D. student from the Doctorado en Ciencias Biomédicas at UNAM and had a scholarship from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) CVU416286 and from PAPIIT: IN 206617, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Author contributions

GCM and CFM: revised the literature, and conceived and designed the manuscript and the figures. GCM: drew the figures. CFM: drafted and critically revised the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unidad de Genética de la Nutrición, Instituto de Investigaciones BiomédicasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México/Instituto Nacional de PediatríaMexico CityMexico

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