Developmental Stage-Specific Contribution of LGR5(+) Cells to Basal and Luminal Epithelial Lineages in the Postnatal Mammary Gland

J Pathol. 2012 Nov;228(3):300-9. doi: 10.1002/path.4096.


The leucine-rich repeat-containing heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein-coupled receptor 5 (LGR5) has been identified as a marker of cycling stem cells in several epithelial tissues, including small intestine, colon, stomach and hair follicle. To investigate whether LGR5 also marks mammary epithelial stem cells, we performed in situ lineage-tracing studies and mammary gland reconstitutions with LGR5-expressing mammary epithelial cells. Interestingly, the LGR5 progeny population in mammary epithelium switches from the luminal to the myoepithelial compartment during the first 12 days of postnatal development, likely reflecting local changes in Wnt signalling. Together, our findings point to a stage-specific contribution of LGR5-expressing cells to luminal and basal epithelial lineages during postnatal mammary gland development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / growth & development*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / deficiency
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Lgr5 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Wnt Proteins