On the shoulders of giants: a historical perspective of unique experimental methods in mammary gland research

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Jul;23(5):583-90. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Mar 9.


While most organs undergo development in utero, the mouse mammary gland orchestrates five major developmental stages following birth: pre-puberty, puberty, pregnancy, lactation, and involution. Induced by both local and systemic factors, these five developmental stages transpire with dramatic alterations in glandular morphology and cellular function. As an experimental system, the mammary gland provides remarkable accessibility to processes regulating stem cell function, hormone response, and epithelial-stromal-extracellular matrix interactions. This review will provide a historical perspective of the unique in vitro and in vivo techniques used to study the mammary gland and how these methods have provided valuable insight into the biology of this organ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Mammary Glands, Animal* / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal* / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal* / transplantation
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Transgenes