Catecholamines, oxytocin and milk removal in dairy cows

Dieter Schams, Rupert Bruckmaier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Experiments were designed to study the effects of catecholamines on oxytocin responses and milk removal in dairy cows. Adrenalin, noradrenalin, dopamine, isoproterenol (a β-adrenoceptor agonist), phentolamine (an α-adrenergic blocker) and propranolol (a β-adrenergic blocker) were infused intravenously. In addition, adrenalin was infused together with phentolamine and/or propranolol. Infusions started 8 min before milking and lasted until the end of milking. In some cases electroshocks (for 5 s) were applied immediately before milking in the absence and presence of phentolamine and propranolol. Adrenalin, noradrenalin and dopamine reduced milk removal, but only if administered in supraphysiological amounts. The effect of adrenalin and electroshocks on milk removal could be inhibited by α-, but not by β-adrenergic blockade. The effect of dopamine could be inhibited only partly by phentolamine. Inhibition of milk removal was not mediated by reduced oxytocin responses. Enhanced local release of catecholamines from sympathetic nerves was presumably responsible for lowered milk removal in response to electroshocks. Milk removal was facilitated during α-adrenergic blockade and during β-adrenoceptor stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1989


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