Part of the series Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology pp 1-30


Effects of Chemicals on Mammary Gland Development

  • Adam J. FilgoAffiliated withMPI Research Email author 
  • , Ali S. FaqiAffiliated withMPI Research

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The mammary gland is exceptionally a complex tissue. It is a sexually dimorphic organ in function, size, response to hormone signaling, and cellular structure. Unlike most organs, the mammary gland has several critical periods of growth and development after birth, and is only fully developed after a full-term pregnancy. Mammary gland development is dependent on complex endocrine signaling as well as paracrine and autocrine signaling between the stroma and parenchyma cells. Even outside of the critical windows of growth and development, the mammary gland is constantly changing with normal hormone fluctuations, most notably during the estrous/menstrual cycle. It is particularly sensitive to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). An EDC can affect both females and males, resulting in abnormal mammary gland development in adolescents. Later in life, EDCs can influence cancer outcomes. In adult females, alterations in mammary gland development can result in lactational impairment. This chapter describes the stages of development, the key hormone actions, and common EDCs and their effects on the mammary gland.


Endocrine disrupting chemicals Gestational development Hormones Involution Lactation Mammary gland Pregnancy Puberty