Hormonal Regulation of the Immune Microenvironment in the Mammary Gland

  • Eleanor F. Need
  • Vahid Atashgaran
  • Wendy V. Ingman
  • Pallave Dasari
Article

Abstract

It is well established that the development and homeostasis of the mammary gland are highly dependent upon the actions of ovarian hormones progesterone and estrogen, as well as the availability of prolactin for the pregnant and lactating gland. More recently it has become apparent that immune system cells and cytokines play essential roles in both mammary gland development as well as breast cancer. Here, we review hormonal effects on mammary gland biology during puberty, menstrual cycling, pregnancy, lactation and involution, and dissect how hormonal control of the immune system may contribute to mammary development at each stage via cytokine secretion and recruitment of macrophages, eosinophils, mast cells and lymphocytes. Collectively, these alterations may create an immunotolerant or inflammatory immune environment at specific developmental stages or phases of the menstrual cycle. Of particular interest for further research is investigation of the combinatorial actions of progesterone and estrogen during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and key developmental points where the immune system may play an active role both in mammary development as well as in the creation of an immunotolerant environment, thereby affecting breast cancer risk.

Keywords

Progesterone Estrogen Macrophage T cell Cytokine 

Abbreviations

AR

Androgen receptor

COX2

Cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme

CSF

Colony-stimulating factor

ERBB1/EGFR

Epidermal growth factor receptor

ERα

Estrogen receptor alpha

IFNG

Interferon gamma

IL

Interleukin

IκB

Inhibitor of NF-κB

LPS

Lipopolysaccharide

NF-κB

Nuclear factor kappa B

PR

Progesterone receptor

RANK

Receptor activator of NF-κB

RANKL

Receptor activator of NF-κB ligand

TDLU

Terminal ductal lobular units

TEB

Terminal end buds

Th

Helper T lymphocytes

TLR

Toll-like receptor

TNFA

Tumor necrosis factor alpha

Treg

Regulatory T lymphocytes

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleanor F. Need
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vahid Atashgaran
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wendy V. Ingman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pallave Dasari
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Discipline of Surgery, School of Medicine, The Queen Elizabeth HospitalUniversity of AdelaideWoodvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Robinson Research InstituteUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Paediatrics and Reproductive HealthUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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