Synthesis of lactoferrin and casein by the bovine mammary gland was determined in an experimental model where lactation was maintained in one mammary half, while involution was induced in the contralateral half. Culture of explants with prolactin had no consistent effect on synthesis of casein or lactoferrin in tissue from either mammary half. Endotoxin and tumor necrosis factor-α generally decreased synthesis of casein and lactoferrin, suggesting that these inflammatory mediators are not directly responsible for increasing lactoferrin synthesis during mammary inflammation or involution. Synthesis of lactoferrin was increased and casein decreased in the involuting mammary half vs. the lactating half. These results suggest that local factors in the mammary gland play a role in the regulation of lactoferrin synthesis during involution.