Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 343–352 | Cite as

TGF-β and functional differentiation

Article

Abstract

A review of the pertinent literature suggests that TGF-β1 may play a multifaceted role in functional differentiation of mammary epithelium. Evidence for the expression of TGF-β1 RNA and the presence of functional TGF-β1 protein in differentiating mammary epithelial cells from a pregnant mouse has been recently reported. The specific role of mammary-epithelial-cell-produced TGF-β1 in the differentiating mammary gland is presently unclear. However, several possible functions are suggested from the following observations. Milk protein production is negatively regulated by exogenous TGF-β1 during gestational development of the gland but not during lactation. Consistent with reports linking TGF-β1 gene expression with mammary gland involution following lactation, overexpression of TGF-β1 in the differentiating secretory epithelium leads to premature programmed cell death in the absence of a negative effect on secretory epithelial cell proliferation. A role for TGF-β1 in cell cycle control and suppression of malignant progression independent from its inhibitory effect on epithelial cell growth has been demonstrated in keratinocytes. A similar function could provide protection against malignancy in proliferating mammary epithelium and account for TGF-β1 suppression of mammary tumorigenesis in transgenic mice overexpressing transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α).3

Key words

Transforming growth factor beta lactation mammary gland 

Abbreviations

MMTV-LTR

Mouse mammary tumor virus Long Terminal Repeat gene promoter

WAP

whey acidic protein

TGF-β

transforming growth factor beta

TGF-α

transforming growth factor alpha

Met

metallothionein gene promoter

LacZ

E. coli beta-galactosidase

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oncogenetics Section, Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and BiologyNational Cancer InstituteBethesda

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