Seipin deficiency leads to increased endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis in mammary gland alveolar epithelial cells during lactation

Ahmed E. El Zowalaty, Rong Li, Weiqin Chen, Xiaoqin Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Seipin is an integral endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein encoded by Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 2 (BSCL2/Bscl2) gene. Most litters (59%) from Bscl2 -/- dams mated with wild type (WT) (Bscl2 +/+) males did not survive postnatal day 5 (PND5) and pups (Bscl2 +/-) lacked milk in their stomachs. The survived litters had reduced pup survival rate at PND21. It was hypothesized that seipin was critical for lactation. Bscl2 was upregulated and highly detected in the lactation day 1 (LD1) WT mammary gland alveolar epithelial cells. LD1 Bscl2 -/- mammary glands lacked adipocytes and alveolar clusters and had varied alveolar morphology: from interconnected mammary gland alveoli with dilated lumen and sloughed epithelial cells to undifferentiated mammary gland alveoli with unexpanded lumen. Comparable levels of whey acidic protein (WAP, a major component in rodent milk) staining and Nile Red lipid droplet staining between WT and Bscl2 -/- LD1 alveolar epithelial cells indicated normal milk protein synthesis and lipid syntheses in LD1 Bscl2 -/- mammary glands. Significantly reduced percentage of larger lipid droplets was detected in LD1 Bscl2 -/- alveoli with unexpanded lumen. There was no obviously impaired proliferation detected by PCNA staining but increased apoptosis detected by cleaved caspase-3 staining in LD1 Bscl2 -/- alveolar epithelial cells. Increased expression of protein disulfide isomerase and binding immunoglobulin protein in the LD1 Bscl2 -/- mammary gland alveolar epithelial cells indicated increased ER stress. This study demonstrates increased ER stress and apoptosis in LD1 Bscl2 -/- mammary gland alveolar epithelial cells and reveals a novel in vivo function of seipin in lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-578
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018



  • ER stress
  • apoptosis
  • lactation
  • mammary gland alveolar epithelial cells
  • seipin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

Cite this