Identification and function of neonatal Fc receptor in mammary gland of lactating mice

Petru Cianga, Corneliu Medesan, James A. Richardson, Victor Ghetie, E. Sally Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


In addition to its proposed function in regulating serum IgG levels, the MHC class I-related neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) is known to play a role in IgG transfer across rodent yolk sac and neonatal intestine. In contrast to humans, for which transplacental transfer of IgG appears to be the only mechanism of maternal IgG delivery, the transmission of IgG in mice occurs both antenatally (yolk sac) and neonatally (transport from mother's milk across intestinal epithelial cells). In the current study, a possible role for FcRn in regulating IgG transfer into milk has been investigated. FcRn has been shown to be present in functional form in the mammary gland of lactating mice, and is localized to the epithelial cells of the acini. Analysis of the transfer of Fc fragments and IgG which have different affinities for FcRn indicate that, unexpectedly, these proteins are transferred in inverse correlation with their binding affinity for FcRn. Thus, in the lactating mammary gland FcRn appears to play a role in recycling IgG in a mode that may have relevance to FcRn trafficking during the maintenance of constant serum IgG levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2515-2523
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999


  • IgG
  • Mammary gland
  • Neonatal Fc receptor
  • Transcytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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