An atlas of mouse mammary gland development

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2000 Apr;5(2):227-41. doi: 10.1023/a:1026499523505.


The mouse mammary gland is a complex tissue, which is continually undergoing changes in structure and function. Embryonically, the gland begins with invasion of the underlying fat pad by a rudimentary ductal structure. Postnatal growth occurs in two phases: ductal growth and early alveolar development during estrous cycles, and cycles of proliferation, differentiation, and death that occur with each pregnancy, lactation, and involution. The variety of epithelial structures and stromal changes throughout the life of a mammary gland makes it a challenge to study. The purpose of this histological review is to give a brief representation of the morphological changes that occur throughout the cycle of mouse mammary gland development so that developmental changes observed in mouse models of mammary development can be appreciated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Estrus
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / embryology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development*
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual Maturation