, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 13-28

Prolactin Regulation of Mammary Gland Development

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Mammary morphogenesis is orchestrated with other reproductive events by pituitary-driven changes to the systemic hormone environment, initiating the formation of a mammary ductal network during puberty and the addition of secretory alveoli during pregnancy. Prolactin is the major driver of development during pregnancy via regulation of ovarian progesterone production (in many species) and direct effects on mammary epithelial cells (in all species). Together these hormones regulate two aspects of development that are the subject of intense interest: (1) a genomic regulatory network that integrates many additional spatial and temporal cues to control gene expression and (2), the activity of a stem and progenitor cell hierarchy. Amalgamation of these two aspects will increase our understanding of cell proliferation and differentiation within the mammary gland, with clear application to our attempts to control breast cancer. Here we focus on providing an over-view of prolactin action during development of the model murine mammary gland.

Samantha R. Oakes and Renee L. Rogers contributed equally to this work.
Financial Support: Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, The Cancer Institute NSW and Cancer Council NSW.