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Dev Cell. 2001 Oct;1(4):467-75.

Signaling pathways in mammary gland development.

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Laboratory of Genetics and Physiology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0822, USA.


Unlike most other organs, development of the mammary gland occurs predominantly after birth, under the control of steroid and peptide hormones. Once the gland is established, cycles of proliferation, functional differentiation, and death of alveolar epithelium occur repeatedly with each pregnancy. Although it is unique in this respect, the signaling pathways utilized by the gland are shared with other cell types, and have been tailored to meet the needs of this secretory tissue. Here we discuss the signaling pathways that have been adopted by the mammary gland for its own purposes, and the functions they perform.

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