, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 165-185

A Developmental Atlas of Rat Mammary Gland Histology

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Abstract

The mammary gland is a dynamic tissue that undergoes epithelial expansion and invasion during puberty and cycles of branching and lobular morphogenesis, secretory differentiation, and regression during pregnancy, lactation, and involution. The alteration in the mammary gland epithelium during its postnatal differentiation is accompanied by changes in the multiple stromal cell types present in this complex tissue. The postnatal plasticity of the epithelium, endothelium, and stromal cells of the mammary gland may contribute to its susceptibility to carcinogenesis. The purpose of this review is to assist researchers in recognizing histological changes in the epithelium and stroma of the rat mammary gland throughout development.