Local Signals for Growth Cessation and Differentiation in the Mammary Gland
The mammary gland provides a unique model to study postnatal processes of growth and differentiation. Development of the mouse mammary gland is a complex multistage process, which begins in the embryo with the mammary anlagen giving rise to primary and secondary sprouts. Sparsely branching ducts invade the stroma at puberty, followed by the development of lobuloalveolar structures, and functional differentiation during pregnancy (Topper and Freeman, 1980). By use of endocrine ablation, organ culture systems and various cell culture models, it has been demonstrated that several steroid hormones, prolactin and growth hormone regulate this process (for reviews, see Banerjee and Antoniou, 1985; Streuli and Bissell, 1991). The combined action of aldosterone, prolactin, insulin and cortisol is sufficient to promote lobuloalveolar development and functional differentiation in organ cultures of mammary glands from sexually immature mice, pretreated with estradiol and progesterone (Banerjee et al., 1973). Although the systemic importance of ovarian and pituitary hormones has been well documented, these hormones are virtually incapable of stimulating proliferation or inhibiting growth of mammary epithelial cells (MEC) in vitro.
KeywordsMammary Gland Mammary Epithelial Cell Functional Differentiation Fatty Acid Binding Protein Mouse Mammary Gland
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