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Stem Cell Rev. 2007 Jun;3(2):137-46.

Of microenvironments and mammary stem cells.

Author information

1
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA. MAlabarge@LBL.GOV

Abstract

In most adult tissues there reside pools of stem and progenitor cells inside specialized microenvironments referred to as niches. The niche protects the stem cells from inappropriate expansion and directs their critical functions. Thus guided, stem cells are able to maintain tissue homeostasis throughout the ebb and flow of metabolic and physical demands encountered over a lifetime. Indeed, a pool of stem cells maintains mammary gland structure throughout development, and responds to the physiological demands associated with pregnancy. This review discusses how stem cells were identified in both human and mouse mammary glands; each requiring different techniques that were determined by differing biological needs and ethical constraints. These studies together create a robust portrait of mammary gland biology and identify the location of the stem cell niche, elucidate a developmental hierarchy, and suggest how the niche might be manipulated for therapeutic benefit.

PMID:
17873346
PMCID:
PMC3004778
DOI:
10.1007/s12015-007-0024-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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