Requirement of macrophages and eosinophils and their cytokines/chemokines for mammary gland development

Breast Cancer Res. 2002;4(4):155-64. doi: 10.1186/bcr441. Epub 2002 Jun 25.


Epithelial/mesenchymal cell interactions are necessary for proper ductal morphogenesis throughout all stages of mammary gland development. Besides the well-established stromal components, such as adipocytes and fibroblasts, the mammary stroma is also infiltrated with migrating blood cells, mostly macrophages and eosinophils. The focus of this review is on the role of macrophages and their growth factor colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) in promoting branching morphogenesis during postnatal mammary gland development through to lactation. The more restricted role of eosinophils and their chemoattractant eotaxin during pubertal ductal morphogenesis is also discussed. A possible interaction between macrophages and eosinophils in ductal morphogenesis is considered, along with the roles of other chemokines. This role of macrophages in normal development also appears to be subverted by tumors of the mammary gland to promote the escape of the tumor cells from the local environment and enhance their rate of metastasis. These data emphasize the dual role of macrophages in the promotion of epithelial growth in normal and cancer states.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast / growth & development*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Communication
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines / physiology*
  • Chemokines, CC / physiology
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Eosinophils / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / physiology
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Morphogenesis
  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty
  • Radiation Chimera
  • Receptors, Cytokine / physiology
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Stromal Cells / physiology


  • CCL11 protein, human
  • Ccl11 protein, mouse
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor