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J Cell Physiol. 2017 Nov;232(11):2923-2928. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25858. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Mammary alveolar epithelial cells convert to brown adipocytes in post-lactating mice.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Ancona (Università Politecnica delle Marche), Ancona, Italy.
2
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
3
Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
4
UCSF Diabetes Center, University of California, San Francisco, California.
5
Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Biomedicine, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
6
Institute of Metagenomics, BGI-Shenzen, Shenzen, China.
7
Center of Obesity, University of Ancona (Università Politecnica delle Marche)-United Hospitals, Ancona, Italy.

Abstract

During pregnancy and lactation, subcutaneous white adipocytes in the mouse mammary gland transdifferentiate reversibly to milk-secreting epithelial cells. In this study, we demonstrate by transmission electron microscopy that in the post-lactating mammary gland interscapular multilocular adipocytes found close to the mammary alveoli contain milk protein granules. Use of the Cre-loxP recombination system allowed showing that the involuting mammary gland of whey acidic protein-Cre/R26R mice, whose secretory alveolar cells express the lacZ gene during pregnancy, contains some X-Gal-stained and uncoupling protein 1-positive interscapular multilocular adipocytes. These data suggest that during mammary gland involution some milk-secreting epithelial cells in the anterior subcutaneous depot may transdifferentiate to brown adipocytes, highlighting a hitherto unappreciated feature of mouse adipose organ plasticity.

KEYWORDS:

Cre-loxP recombination system; adipose organ; electron microscopy; mammary gland; pregnancy

PMID:
28191637
PMCID:
PMC5526734
DOI:
10.1002/jcp.25858
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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