The proliferation of mouse mammary epithelial cells in response to specific mitogens is modulated by the mammary fat pad in vitro

Russell C. Hovey, Duncan D S Mackenzie, Thomas B. Mcfadden

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24 Scopus citations


The ability of the murine mammary fat pad to directly stimulate the growth of mammary epithelial cells and to modulate the effects of various mammogenic agents has been investigated in a newly described, hormone- and serum-free coculture system. COMMA-1D mouse mammary epithelial cells were cultured for 5 or 7 d with various supplements in the absence or presence of epithelium-free mammary fat pad explants from virgin female BALB/c mice. Cocultured fat pad stimulated increases in the DNA content of COMMA-1D cultures by two- to threefold or six- to eightfold after 5 or 7 d, respectively. The mitogenic effect was additive to that of 10% fetal calf serum and could not be attributed to the release of prostaglandin E2 or synthesis of prostaglandins by epithelial cells. In addition, bovine serum albumin attenuated (P < 0.05) the mitogenic effect of cocultured mammary fat pad. Added alone, insulinlike growth factor-I, epidermal growth factor, and insulin increased (P < 0.05) total DNA of COMMA-1D cultures by 2.5-, 3.7-, and 2.3-fold, respectively. Cocultured mammary fat pad markedly interacted (P < 0.01) with these mitogens to yield final DNA values that were 21.2-, 13.3- , and 22.1-fold greater than in basal medium only. Associated with this proliferation was the formation of numerous domes above the COMMA-1D monolayer. There was no proliferative response to growth hormone or prolactin in the absence or presence of cocultured fat pad (P > 0.05). Whereas hydrocortisone did not alter cell number, it attenuated (P < 0.05) the mitogenic effect of cocultured mammary fat pad. These results indicate that the murine mammary fat pad is not only a direct source of mitogenic activity, but also modulates the response of mammary epithelial cells to certain mammogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Coculture
  • Epithelial-stromal interaction
  • Growth factors
  • Mammary fat pad
  • Serum-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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