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Leptin Regulation of Mammary Cell Growth

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Annual summary rept. 1 Oct 2001-30 Sep 2002

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After menopause, breast cancer risk rises with obesity. The expanding adipocyte i.e.. fat cell population may contribute directly to breast cancer by providing excess factors that maintain normal growth. To test the hypothesis that leptin regulates mammary epithelial cell growth, obesity obob mice that do not synthesize with leptin were evaluated for mammary gland development before and after treatment with estrogen and progesterone. Initial analysis revealed very little ductal growth in the obob mutant phenotype, similar to lean littermates. Following 3 weeks of treatment, the obese phenotype had limited ductal outgrowth, smaller terminal end buds, and no alveolar development when compared to lean littermates. Current efforts are more objectively analyzing development by calculating the number and area of terminal end buds, as well as ductal branch points in relation to mice with similar levels of mammary gland development. The results of these and subsequent studies will contribute directly to the knowledge of mammary gland development and possibly tumor development by providing new information regarding the signaling pathways between the adipocyte-rich stroma and mammary epithelial cells. Understanding these pathways in relation to both normal and pathologic mammary cell growth is imperative because of thegreater risk of breast cancer that occurs with obesity.

Subject Categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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