Project description:Both estrogen (E) and progesterone (P) are implicated in the etiology of human breast cancer. Defining their mechanisms of action, particularly in vivo, is relevant to the prevention and therapy of breast cancer. We investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms of E and/or P-induced in vivo proliferation, in the normal rat mammary gland and in hormone-dependent rat mammary cancers which share many characteristics with the normal human breast and hormone-dependent breast cancers. We show that E+P treatment induced significantly greater proliferation in both the normal gland and mammary cancers compared to E alone. In both the normal gland and tumors, E+P-induced proliferation was mediated through the increased production of amphiregulin (Areg), an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligand, and the activation of intracellular signaling pathways (Erk, Akt, JNK) downstream of EGFR that regulate proliferation. In vitro experiments using rat primary mammary organoids or T47D breast cancer cells confirmed that Areg and the synthetic progestin, R5020, synergize to promote cell proliferation through EGFR signaling. Iressa, an EGFR inhibitor, effectively blocked this proliferation. These results indicate that mediators of cross talk between E, P, and EGFR pathways may be considered as relevant molecular targets for the therapy of hormone-dependent breast cancers, especially in premenopausal women.
Project description:Mammary gland development during puberty and reconstruction during pregnancy and lactation is under the control of circulating endocrine hormones, such as growth hormone, which are released from the pituitary. In this study, we explored the influence of overexpression of growth hormone in the mammary gland on breast development and milk production in goats. Using transcriptome sequencing, we found that the number of highly expressed genes was greater in GH transgenic goats than non-transgenic goats. Furthermore, KEGG pathway analysis showed that the majority of the genes belonged to the MAPK signaling pathway and the ECM-receptor interaction pathway. The expression of genes related to breast development was further confirmed using qRT-PCR. Interestingly, both milk production and milk quality were increased. The results of these experiments imply that overexpression of growth hormone in the breast may stimulate breast development and enhances milk production by modulating alveolar cell proliferation or branching through the MAPK signaling pathway.
Project description:Hedgehog (HH) signaling is known to be essential during the embryonal development of the pituitary gland but the knowledge about its role in the adult pituitary and in associated tumors is sparse. In this report we investigated the effect of excess Hh signaling activation in murine pituitary explants and analyzed the HH signaling status of human adenopituitary lobes and a large cohort of pituitary adenomas. Our data show that excess Hh signaling led to increased proliferation of Sox2(+) and Sox9(+) adult pituitary stem cells and to elevated expression levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (Acth), growth hormone (Gh) and prolactin (Prl) in the adult gland. Inhibition of the pathway by cyclopamine reversed these effects indicating that active Hh signaling positively regulates proliferative processes of adult pituitary stem cells and hormone production in the anterior pituitary. Since hormone producing cells of the adenohypophysis as well as ACTH-, GH- and PRL-immunopositive adenomas express SHH and its target GLI1, we furthermore propose that excess HH signaling is involved in the development/maintenance of hormone-producing pituitary adenomas. These findings advance the understanding of physiological hormone regulation and may open new treatment options for pituitary tumors.
Project description:Integrin-extracellular matrix interactions play important roles in the coordinated integration of external and internal cues that are essential for proper development. To study the role of beta1 integrin in the mammary gland, Itgbeta1(flox/flox) mice were crossed with WAPiCre transgenic mice, which led to specific ablation of beta1 integrin in luminal alveolar epithelial cells. In the beta1 integrin mutant mammary gland, individual alveoli were disorganized resulting from alterations in cell-basement membrane associations. Activity of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) was also decreased in mutant mammary glands. Luminal cell proliferation was strongly inhibited in beta1 integrin mutant glands, which correlated with a specific increase of p21 Cip1 expression. In a p21 Cip1 null background, there was a partial rescue of BrdU incorporation, providing in vivo evidence linking p21 Cip1 to the proliferative defect observed in beta1 integrin mutant glands. A connection between p21 Cip1 and beta1 integrin as well as FAK was also established in primary mammary cells. These results point to the essential role of beta1 integrin signaling in mammary epithelial cell proliferation.
Project description:Menopausal hormone therapies vary widely in their effects on breast cancer risk, and the mechanisms underlying these differences are unclear. The primary goals of this study were to characterize the mammary gland transcriptional profile of estrogen?+?progestin therapy in comparison with estrogen-alone or tibolone and investigate pathways of cell proliferation in a postmenopausal primate model.Ovariectomized female cynomolgus macaque monkeys were randomized into the following groups: placebo (Con), oral conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), CEE with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) (CEE?+?MPA), and tibolone given at a low or high dose (Lo or Hi Tib). All study treatment doses represented human clinical dose equivalents and were administered in the diet over a period of 2 years.Treatment with CEE?+?MPA had the greatest effect on global mRNA profiles and markers of mammary gland proliferation compared to CEE or tibolone treatment. Changes in the transcriptional patterns resulting from the addition of MPA to CEE were related to increased growth factors and decreased estrogen receptor (ER) signaling. Specific genes induced by CEE?+?MPA treatment included key members of prolactin receptor (PRLR)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK)/receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) pathways that were highly associated with breast tissue proliferation. In contrast, tibolone did not affect breast tissue proliferation but did elicit a mixed pattern of ER agonist activity.Our findings indicate that estrogen?+?progestin therapy results in a distinct molecular profile compared to estrogen-alone or tibolone therapy, including upregulation of key growth factor targets associated with mammary carcinogenesis in mouse models. These changes may contribute to the promotional effects of estrogen?+?progestin therapy on breast cancer risk.
Project description:Animal studies have shown that IGF-I is essential for mammary gland development. Previous studies have suggested that local IGF-I rather than circulating IGF-I is the major mediator of mammary gland development. In the present study we used the hepatic IGF-I transgenic (HIT) and IGF-I knockout/HIT (KO-HIT) mouse models to examine the effects of enhanced circulating IGF-I on mammary development in the presence and absence of local IGF-I. HIT mice express the rat IGF-I transgene under the transthyretin promoter in the liver and have elevated circulating IGF-I and normal tissue IGF-I levels. The KO-HIT mice have no tissue IGF-I and increased circulating IGF-I. Analysis of mammary gland development reveals a greater degree of complexity in HIT mice as compared to control and KO-HIT mice, which demonstrate similar degrees of mammary gland complexity. Immunohistochemical evaluation of glands of HIT mice also suggests an enhanced degree of proliferation of the mammary gland, whereas KO-HIT mice exhibit mammary gland proliferation similar to control mice. In addition, HIT mice have a higher percentage of proliferating myoepithelial and luminal cells than control mice, whereas KO-HIT mice have an equivalent percentage of proliferating myoepithelial and luminal cells as control mice. Thus, our findings show that elevated circulating IGF-I levels are sufficient to promote normal pubertal mammary epithelial development. However, HIT mice demonstrate more pronounced mammary gland development when compared to control and KO-HIT mice. This suggests that both local and endocrine IGF-I play roles in mammary gland development and that elevated circulating IGF-I accelerates mammary epithelial proliferation.
Project description:The mouse mammary gland develops postnatally under the control of female reproductive hormones. Estrogens and progesterone trigger morphogenesis by poorly understood mechanisms acting on a subset of mammary epithelial cells (MECs) that express their cognate receptors, estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and progesterone receptor (PR). Here, we show that in the adult female, progesterone drives proliferation of MECs in two waves. The first, small wave, encompasses PR(+) cells and requires cyclin D1, the second, large wave, comprises mostly PR(-) cells and relies on the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family member, receptor activator of NF-kappaB-ligand (RANKL). RANKL elicits proliferation by a paracrine mechanism. Ablation of RANKL in the mammary epithelium blocks progesterone-induced morphogenesis, and ectopic expression of RANKL in MECs completely rescues the PR(-/-) phenotype. Systemic administration of RANKL triggers proliferation in the absence of PR signaling, and injection of a RANK signaling inhibitor interferes with progesterone-induced proliferation. Thus, progesterone elicits proliferation by a cell-intrinsic and a, more important, paracrine mechanism.
Project description:The role of progestins in combined hormone therapy is the inhibition of uterine epithelial cell proliferation. The Women's Health Initiative study provided evidence for an increased risk of breast cancer in women treated with conjugated equine estrogens plus the synthetic progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), compared with conjugated equine estrogens-only treatment. These findings continue to be discussed, and it remains to be clarified whether the results obtained for MPA in the Women's Health Initiative study are directly applicable to other progestins used in hormone therapy. In this study we compared in a mouse model the effects of the synthetic progestins, MPA, and drospirenone in two major target organs: the uterus and mammary gland. As quantitative measures of progestin activity, we analyzed maintenance of pregnancy, ductal side branching in the mammary gland, and proliferation of mammary and uterine epithelial cells as well as target gene induction in both organs. The outcome of this study is that not all synthetic progestins exhibit the same effects. MPA demonstrated uterine activity and mitogenic activity in the mammary gland at the same doses. In contrast, drospirenone behaved similarly to the natural hormone, progesterone, and exhibited uterine activity at doses lower than those leading to considerable proliferative effects in the mammary gland. We hypothesize that the safety of combined hormone therapy in postmenopausal women may be associated with a dissociation between the uterine and mammary gland activities of the progestin component.
Project description:Insulin is known to be an important regulator of milk secretion in the lactating mammary gland. Here we examine the role of insulin signaling in mammary development in pregnancy using a mouse with a floxed insulin receptor (IR) crossed with a mouse expressing Cre specifically in the mammary gland. In the mammary glands of these IR(fl/fl) Cre(+) mice, expression of IR is significantly diminished throughout development. Glands from these mice had 50% fewer alveoli at midpregnancy; casein and lipid droplets were diminished by 60 and 75%, respectively, indicating a role for IR both in alveolar development and differentiation. In an acinar preparation from mammary epithelial cells (MEC) isolated from pregnant mice, insulin stimulated lumen formation, mammary cell size, acinar size, acinar casein content, and the formation of lipid droplets with a Km of ∼1.7 nM. IGF-I and IGF-II had no effect at concentrations below 50 nM, and a function blocking antibody to the IGF type 1 receptor did not alter the response to insulin. We conclude that insulin interacting with IR is essential for mammary differentiation during murine pregnancy. Using array analysis, we then examined the expression of genes up- or downregulated >1.5-fold in the IR(fl/fl) Cre(+) MECs, finding significant downregulation of differentiation specific genes and upregulation of cell cycle and extracellular matrix genes. We conclude that insulin fosters differentiation and may inhibit cell proliferation in the mammary gland of the midpregnant mouse.
Project description:In the mammary gland, PTEN loss in luminal and basal epithelial cells results in differentiation defects and enhanced proliferation, leading to the formation of tumors with basal epithelial characteristics. In breast cancer, PTEN loss is associated with a hormone receptor-negative, basal-like subtype that is thought to originate in a luminal epithelial cell. Here, we show that luminal-specific PTEN loss results in distinct effects on epithelial homeostasis and mammary tumor formation. Luminal PTEN loss increased proliferation of hormone receptor-negative cells, thereby decreasing the percentage of hormone receptor-positive cells. Moreover, luminal PTEN loss led to misoriented cell divisions and mislocalization of cells to the intraluminal space of mammary ducts. Despite their elevated levels of activated AKT, Pten-null intraluminal cells showed increased levels of apoptosis. One year after Pten deletion, the ducts had cleared and no palpable mammary tumors were detected. These data establish PTEN as a critical regulator of luminal epithelial homeostasis and integrity in the adult mammary gland, and further show that luminal PTEN loss alone is not sufficient to promote the progression of mammary tumorigenesis.