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Breast Cancer Res. 2014 Dec 3;16(6):487. doi: 10.1186/s13058-014-0487-6.

Embryonic cells contribute directly to the quiescent stem cell population in the adult mouse mammary gland.

Author information

1
Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine TAC S131, Box 208020, New Haven, CT, 06520-8020, USA. granickata@gmail.com.
2
Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine TAC S131, Box 208020, New Haven, CT, 06520-8020, USA. pamela.dann@yale.edu.
3
Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine TAC S131, Box 208020, New Haven, CT, 06520-8020, USA. john.wysolmerski@yale.edu.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Studies have identified multi-potent stem cells in the adult mammary gland. More recent studies have suggested that the embryonic mammary gland may also contain stem/progenitor cells that contribute to initial ductal development. We were interested in determining whether embryonic cells might also directly contribute to long-lived stem cells that support homeostasis and development in the adult mammary gland.

METHODS:

We used DNA-label retention to detect long label-retaining cells in the mammary gland. Mouse embryos were labeled with 5-ethynl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU) between embryonic day 14.5 and embryonic day 18.5 and were subsequently sacrificed and examined for EdU retention at various intervals after birth. EdU retaining cells were co-stained for various lineage markers and identified after fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis of specific epithelial subsets. EdU-labeled mice were subjected to subsequent 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine administration to determine whether EdU-labeled cells could re-enter the cell cycle. Finally, EdU-labeled cells were grown under non-adherent conditions to assess their ability to form mammospheres.

RESULTS:

We demonstrate embryonically-derived, long label-retaining cells (eLLRCs) in the adult mammary gland. eLLRCs stain for basal markers and are enriched within the mammary stem cell population identified by cell sorting. eLLRCs are restricted to the primary ducts near the nipple region. Interestingly, long label retaining cells (labeled during puberty) are found just in front of the eLLRCs, near where the ends of the ducts had been at the time of DNA labeling in early puberty. A subset of eLLRCs becomes mitotically active during periods of mammary growth and in response to ovarian hormones. Finally, we show that eLLRCs are contained within primary and secondary mammospheres.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that a subset of proliferating embryonic cells subsequently becomes quiescent and contributes to the pool of long-lived mammary stem cells in the adult. eLLRCs can re-enter the cell cycle, produce both mammary lineages and self-renew. Thus, our studies have identified a putative stem/progenitor cell population of embryonic origin. Further study of these cells will contribute to an understanding of how quiescent stem cells are generated during development and how fetal exposures may alter future breast cancer risk in adults.

PMID:
25467960
PMCID:
PMC4308878
DOI:
10.1186/s13058-014-0487-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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