Historical perspectives of prolactin and growth Hormone as mammogens, lactogens and galactagogues - Agog for the future!

Josephine F. Trott, Barbara K. Vonderhaar, Russell C. Hovey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Around 80 years ago researchers first established that the pituitary gland regulates mammary gland function as demonstrated by the ability of its extracts to promote both mammogenesis and lactogenesis in animal models. Little did they realize that in fact two hormones, prolactin (PRL) and growth hormone (GH), were contributing to these effects. By the mid 1930s PRL had been purified as a distinct lactogen, while the galactopoietic effect of GH was confirmed after its purification in the 1940s. Interest in these hormones initially centered about their potential for increasing milk production, while in the latter half of the twentieth century it became obvious that these hormones also had the potential to influence mammary cancer development. During the past 50 years large strides have been made into understanding how these hormones signal to, and within, cells of the mammary gland, paralleling rapid developments in the fields of cellular and molecular biology. In compiling this review we have summarized the progress that has been made to date regarding roles for these hormones in the mammary gland, with a goal of ensuring that some of the seminal literature is not diluted or forgotten. In doing so it is clear that there are lessons to be learned from past experiences, where new methods and technologies will continue to present exciting new opportunities to revisit lingering questions regarding these fascinating hormones and this fascinating organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Growth hormone
  • Mammary gland
  • Prolactin
  • Receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Historical perspectives of prolactin and growth Hormone as mammogens, lactogens and galactagogues - Agog for the future!'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this