Mammary Stroma in Development and Carcinogenesis

  • Teruyo Sakakura
  • Yuka Suzuki
  • Robert Shiurba


Mammary glands of adult human females are secretory organs comprised of interdependent epithelial and mesenchymal cells. These cells constitute an assemblage of collecting ducts that end in terminal duct lobular units with hollow alveolar ductules that can differentiate to produce and expel milk. Systemic and maternal hormones, autocrine and paracrine growth factors, and cytokines regulate virtually all phases of mammary gland development. During organogenesis, epithelial and mesenchymal cells interact to form precursors of the parenchyma and stroma in the mature gland. Organogenesis precedes five stages of postnatal development: puberty, pregnancy, lactation, involution, and menopause. Each stage requires a specific set of morphogenetic changes in glandular structure and function. Cycles of cell proliferation, differentiation, and involution may recur until menopause. In addition, physiological responses such as inflammation and pathological events such as tumorigenesis are remarkable for their similarities to embryonic morphogenesis. Here we take a succinct look at the ever-improving understanding of stroma–epithelial interactions and mesenchyme function in mammary gland biology.


Mammary gland Stroma Development Carcinogenesis 



Bone morphogenetic protein 4


Dense mammary mesenchyme


Embryonic day


Fibroblast growth factor 10 protein


Fibroblast growth factor 10 gene


Fat pad precursor


Glioma-associated zinc finger 3 transcription factor


Mammary epithelium


Immunodeficient athymic Foxn1nu mouse


Parathyroid hormone-related peptide


Severe combined immunodeficiency


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mie UniversityTsu-shiJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Regional Innovation StudiesMie UniversityTsu-shiJapan
  3. 3.Integrative Bioscience and Biomedical EngineeringWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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