Mammary gland morphological and gene expression changes underlying pregnancy protection of breast cancer tumorigenesis.
ABSTRACT A full-term pregnancy early in life reduces lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and the effect can be mimicked in rodents by full-term pregnancy or short-term treatment with exogenous estrogen and progesterone. To gain insight into the protective mechanism, 15 3-mo-old postpubertal virgin Lewis rats were randomly assigned to three groups: control (C), pregnancy (P), or hormone (H). The P group animals underwent a full-term pregnancy, and H group animals were implanted subcutaneously with silastic capsules filled with ethynyl estradiol and megesterol acetate for 21 days. C and P animals were implanted with sham capsules. On day 21 capsules were removed, which was followed by a 49-day involution period, euthanasia, and mammary tissue collection. Global gene expression was measured using Rat Genome 230.2 Arrays. Histological analysis revealed that P and H treatments induced sustained morphological changes in the mammary gland with significantly increased percentages of mammary parenchyma and stromal tissues and higher ratio of stroma to parenchyma. Transcriptome analysis showed that P and H treatments induced sustained global changes in gene expression in the mammary gland. Analysis of commonly up- and downregulated genes in P and H relative to C treatment showed increased expression of three matrix metallopeptidases (Mmp3, 8, and 12), more differentiated mammary phenotype, enhanced innate and adaptive immunity, and reduced cell proliferation and angiogenic signatures. The sustained morphological and global gene expression changes in mammary tissue after pregnancy and hormone treatment may function together to provide the protective effect against breast cancer.
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ABSTRACT: A postpartum diagnosis of breast cancer is an independent predictor of metastases, however the reason is unknown. In rodents, the window of postpartum mammary gland involution promotes tumor progression, suggesting a role for breast involution in the poor prognosis of human postpartum breast cancers. Rodent mammary gland involution is characterized by the programmed elimination of the secretory lobules laid down in preparation for lactation. This tissue involution process involves massive epithelial cell death, stromal remodeling, and immune cell infiltration with similarities to microenvironments present during wound healing and tumor progression. Here, we characterize breast tissue from premenopausal women with known reproductive histories to determine the extent, duration and cellular mechanisms of postpartum lobular involution in women. Adjacent normal breast tissues from premenopausal women (n = 183) aged 20 to 45 years, grouped by reproductive categories of nulliparous, pregnant and lactating, and by time since last delivery were evaluated histologically and by special stain for lobular area, lobular type composition, apoptosis and immune cell infiltration using computer assisted quantitative methods. Human nulliparous glands were composed dominantly of small (approximately 10 acini per lobule) and medium (approximately 35 acini per lobule) sized lobules. With pregnancy and lactation, a >10 fold increase in breast epithelial area was observed compared to nulliparous cases, and lactating glands were dominated by mature lobules (>100 acini per lobule) with secretory morphology. Significant losses in mammary epithelial area and mature lobule phenotypes were observed within 12 months postpartum. By 18 months postpartum, lobular area content and lobule composition were indistinguishable from nulliparous cases, data consistent with postpartum involution facilitating regression of the secretory lobules developed in preparation for lactation. Analyses of apoptosis and immune cell infiltrate confirmed that human postpartum breast involution is characterized by wound healing-like tissue remodeling programs that occur within a narrowed time frame. Human postpartum breast involution is a dominant tissue-remodeling process that returns the total lobular area of the gland to a level essentially indistinguishable from the nulliparous gland. Further research is warranted to determine whether the normal physiologic process of postpartum involution contributes to the poor prognosis of postpartum breast cancer.Breast cancer research: BCR 03/2014; 16(2):R31. · 5.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The breast of parous postmenopausal women exhibits a specific signature that has been induced by a full term pregnancy. This signature is centered in chromatin remodeling and the epigenetic changes induced by methylation of specific genes which are important regulatory pathways induced by pregnancy. Through the analysis of the genes found to be differentially methylated between women of varying parity, multiple positions at which beta-catenin production and use is inhibited were recognized. The biological importance of the pathways identified in this specific population cannot be sufficiently emphasized because they could represent a safeguard mechanism mediating the protection of the breast conferred by full term pregnancy.Genes. 01/2014; 5(1):65-83.
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ABSTRACT: Prolactin (PRL) is a key player in the development of mammary cancer. We studied the effects of parity or hyperprolactinemia on mammary carcinogenesis in OFA hr/hr treated with 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene. They were divided into three groups: nulliparous (Null), primiparous (PL, after pregnancy and lactation), and hyperprolactinemic rats (I, implanted in the arcuate nucleus with 17β-estradiol). The tumor incidence was similar in the three groups. However, a higher percentage of regressing tumors was evident in the PL group. Serum PRL, mammary development, and mammary β-casein content were higher in I rats compared to Null. The expression of hormone receptors was similar in the different groups. However, mammary tissue from PL rats bearing tumors had increased expression of PRL and estrogen alpha receptors compared to rats free of tumors. Our results suggest that serum PRL levels do not have relevance on the incidence of tumors, probably because the low levels of PRL in OFA rats are not further decreased by PL like in other strains. However, supraphysiological levels of PRL affect carcinogenesis. PL induces regression of the tumors due to the differentiation produced on the mammary cells. Alterations in the expression of hormonal receptors may be involved in progression and regression of tumors.BioMed Research International 01/2014; 2014:210424. · 2.71 Impact Factor