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Strain-Specific Differences in the Mechanisms of Progesterone Regulation of Murine Mammary Gland Development

By Mark D. Aupperlee, Alexis A. Drolet, Srinivasan Durairaj, Weizhong Wang, Richard C. Schwartz and Sandra Z. Haslam


Progesterone (P) is required for normal mammary gland development, and is implicated in the etiology of mammary cancer in rodents and humans. We analyzed mammary gland developmental responses to P and estrogen (E) in two strains of mice (BALB/c and C57BL/6) that exhibit differences in ductal development at sexual maturity and alveologenesis during pregnancy. C57BL/6 mice exhibited reduced proliferative and morphological responses to P. Analysis of known mediators of sidebranching and alveologenesis revealed that reduced P-induced expression of P receptor isoform B and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL), as well as altered expression and regulation of cyclin D1, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β, and the downstream effectors of RANKL, nuclear Id2 and p21, contribute significantly to the reduced P responsiveness of the C57BL/6 mammary gland. In contrast, E responsiveness was greater in C57BL/6 than in BALB/c glands. E may play a compensatory role in C57BL/6 alveologenesis through its effect on the induction and activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5a, a known regulator of RANKL. These observations suggest that in human populations with heterogeneous genetic backgrounds, individuals may respond differentially to the same hormone. Thus, genetic diversity may have a role in determining the effects of P in normal mammary development and tumorigenesis

Topics: Article
Publisher: The Endocrine Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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