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Development. 2000 Oct;127(20):4481-92.

Lactational competence and involution of the mouse mammary gland require plasminogen.

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  • 1Finsen Laboratory, Copenhagen University Hospital, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Urokinase-type plasminogen activator expression is induced in the mouse mammary gland during development and post-lactational involution. We now show that primiparous plasminogen-deficient (Plg(-/-)) mice have seriously compromised mammary gland development and involution. All mammary glands were underdeveloped and one-quarter of the mice failed to lactate. Although the glands from lactating Plg(-/-) mice were initially smaller, they failed to involute after weaning, and in most cases they failed to support a second litter. Alveolar regression was markedly reduced and a fibrotic stroma accumulated in Plg(-/-) mice. Nevertheless, urokinase and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were upregulated normally in involuting glands of Plg(-/-) mice, and fibrin did not accumulate in the glands. Heterozygous Plg(+/-) mice exhibited haploinsufficiency, with a definite, but less severe mammary phenotype. These data demonstrate a critical, dose-dependent requirement for Plg in lactational differentiation and mammary gland remodeling during involution.

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