Inhibition of mammary epithelial apoptosis and sustained phosphorylation of Akt/PKB in MMTV-IGF-II transgenic mice

Cell Death Differ. 2001 Jan;8(1):16-29. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400762.


IGF-II is a growth factor implicated in human cancers and animal tumor models. While the mitogenic properties of IGF-II are well documented, its ability to suppress apoptosis in vivo has never been proven. We generated independent MMTV-IGF-II transgenic mice to examine the control of epithelial apoptosis at the morphological, cellular and molecular levels during the physiological event of postlactation mammary involution. Transgenic IGF-II expression was achieved in mammary epithelium and increased IGF-II bioactivity was confirmed by phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrate-1, a signaling molecule downstream of the type I IGF receptor. IGF-II overexpression induced a delay in mammary involution, as evident by increased mammary gland to body weight ratios and persistence of both functionally intact lobulo-alveoli and mammary epithelial cellularity. The delayed mammary involution resulted from a significant reduction in mammary epithelial apoptosis, and not from increased epithelial proliferation. Recombinant IGF-II pellets implanted into involuting mammary glands of wild-type mice provided further evidence that IGF-II protein inhibited local epithelial apoptosis. At the molecular level, phosphorylated Akt/PKB, but not Erk1 or Erk2, persisted in IGF-II overexpressors and temporally correlated with reduced epithelial apoptosis. Levels of the phosphatase PTEN were unaltered in the transgenic tissue suggesting that the maintenance of Akt/PKB phosphorylation resulted from sustained phosphorylation rather than altered dephosphorylation of PIP-3. Together, this data reveal that IGF-II inhibits apoptosis in vivo and this effect correlates with prolonged phosphorylation of Akt/PKB

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis* / drug effects
  • Drug Implants
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / administration & dosage
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism*
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / physiology*
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Transgenes
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Drug Implants
  • IRS1 protein, human
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Irs1 protein, mouse
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase