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Endocrinology. 1999 Jan;140(1):454-61.

The insulin-like growth factors (IGF) and IGF type I receptor during postnatal growth of the murine mammary gland: sites of messenger ribonucleic acid expression and potential functions.

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Department of Neuroscience and Anatomy, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey 17033, USA.


The goals of this study were to determine the cellular sites of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and IGF type-I receptor (IGF-IR) expression and to begin to elucidate functional roles for the IGFs during postnatal development of the murine mammary gland. Using in situ hybridization analyses, we determined that IGF-I, IGF-II, and IGF-IR messenger RNAs were expressed in the highly proliferative terminal end buds during pubertal ductal growth. Consistent with these data, IGF-I (in combination with mammogenic hormones) promoted ductal growth in pubertal stage mammary glands cultured in vitro. During postpubertal and pregnancy stages, IGF-II and IGF-IR continued to be expressed in ductal epithelium. Expression of IGF-II in ductal and alveolar epithelium correlated with the pattern of rapidly proliferating cells, as determined by incorporation of 5-Bromo-2'-deoxyuridine, suggesting a potential autocrine or paracrine role for IGF-II as a mitogen for ductal epithelial cells. IGF-I expression was reinitiated in mammary epithelium in the differentiated alveoli at the end of pregnancy, suggesting an additional role for this factor in maintenance of the alveoli during lactation. Taken together, these data support an in vivo role for locally-produced IGFs in promoting ductal growth during puberty and suggest that IGF-I and IGF-II may have distinct functions during pregnancy-induced alveolar development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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