Spontaneous pituitary abnormalities and mammary hyperplasia in FVB/NCr mice: Implications for mouse modeling

Lalage M. Wakefield, Gudmundur Thordarson, Ana I. Nieto, G. Shyamala, Jose J. Galvez, Miriam R. Anver, Robert D. Cardiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The FVB/N mouse strain is widely used in the generation of transgenic mouse models. We have observed that mammary glands of wild-type virgin female FVB/NCr mice frequently have the morphologic and histologic appearance of a gland during pregnancy. By 13 months of age, the mammary glands of more than 40% of the mice examined had lobuloalveolar hyperplasia that was characterized by the presence of secretory alveoli and distended ducts apparently containing secretory material. The prevalence of this phenotype further increased with age. The mammary phenotype was highly correlated with the presence of proliferative, prolactin-secreting lesions in the pituitary gland. In mice aged 18 to 23 months, hyperplasia of the pars distalis was seen in 11 of 21 mice (52%), and a further 4 of 21 mice (19%) had pituitary adenomas. Pituitary hyperplasia was already evident in some mice as young as nine months. The pituitary phenotype was also associated with high prevalence (4/6 mice) of spontaneous mammary tumors in aged multiparous, but not virgin FVB/NCr mice. This high prevalence of pituitary abnormalities and their effects on the mammary gland have important consequences for the interpretation of new phenotypes generated in transgenic models using this mouse substrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)


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