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J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2005 Jul;10(3):221-9.

Oxytocin receptor signaling in myoepithelial and cancer cells.

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  • 1CNR Institute of Neuroscience, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Section, Milan, Italy.

Abstract

Oxytocin (OT) plays a crucial role as a mediator of breast myoepithelial cell contraction, the process responsible for the ejection of milk during lactation, and is also involved in myoepithelial cell proliferation and postpartum mammary gland proliferation. Furthermore, although a number of breast cancer cells have oxytocin receptors (OTRs), it has been reported that OT stimulates, inhibits, or has no effect on cell proliferation. As these different effects seem to be mediated by different signaling pathways elicited by OTR stimulation, we here review the regulation of OTR signaling in different cell systems and discuss how understanding the molecular basis of receptor coupling specificity has become extremely important for understanding the role played by OTRs in regulating cell growth.

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