Mammary Gland Involution as a Multi-step Process

  • Torsten Stein
  • Nathan Salomonis
  • Barry A. Gusterson


Mammary gland involution is a highly complex multi-step process in which the lactating gland returns to a morphologically near pre-pregnant state. This developmental stage is characterized by a high degree of epithelial cell death, redevelopment of the mammary adipose tissue and tissue remodelling. Many factors involved have been described and these have been reviewed intensively in this journal (Furth, P. A., J. Mammary Gland Biol. Neoplasia, 4:123–127, 1999) and elsewhere. Microarray analysis technology has now not only allowed us to identify genes not previously associated with involution (Stein, T., Morris, J.S., Davis, C.R.,Weber-Hall, S.J., Duffy, M.A., Heath, V.J., et al., Breast Cancer Res., 6: R75–R91, 2004; Clarkson, R.W., Wayland, M.T., Lee, J., Freeman, T., Watson, C.J., Breast Cancer Res., 6: R92–R109, 2004; Clarkson, R.W., Watson, C.J., J. Mammary Gland Biol. Neoplasia, 8: 309–319, 2003), it has also enabled us to define multiple phases of the controlled regulatory response to forced weaning on the basis of their transcriptional profiles. This review provides a synthesis of published data, integrating the time course of transcriptional activity in the mouse mammary gland with a gene ontology approach to identify the pathways involved.


Involution Microarrays Immune response Apoptosis Remodelling 



activator protein 1


acute phase response factor


CCAAT/enhancer binding protein


insulin-like growth factor binding protein




matrix metalloproteinase


phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase


reactive oxygen species


severe combined immune deficiency


sma- and mad-related protein


signal transducer and activator of transcription


transforming growth factor


tumor necrosis factor


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand


TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis


leucine zipper


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torsten Stein
    • 1
  • Nathan Salomonis
    • 2
  • Barry A. Gusterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Sciences and Molecular Pathology, Section of Gene Regulation and Mechanisms of Disease, Western InfirmaryUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular DiseaseSan FranciscoUSA

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