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Review
, 93, 185-201

The Hyperplastic Phenotype in PR-A and PR-B Transgenic Mice: Lessons on the Role of Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors in the Mouse Mammary Gland and Breast Cancer

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Review

The Hyperplastic Phenotype in PR-A and PR-B Transgenic Mice: Lessons on the Role of Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors in the Mouse Mammary Gland and Breast Cancer

Rocio Sampayo et al. Vitam Horm.

Abstract

Progesterone receptor (PR) belongs to the superfamily of steroid receptors and mediates the action of progesterone in its target tissues. In the mammary gland, in particular, PR expression is restricted to the luminal epithelial cell compartment. The generation of estrogen receptor-α (ER) and PR knockout mice allowed the specific characterization of the roles of each of these in mammary gland development: ER is critical for ductal morphogenesis, whereas PR has a key role in lobuloalveolar differentiation. To further study the role PR isoforms have in mammary gland biology, transgenic mice overexpressing either the "A" (PR-A) or the "B" (PR-B) isoforms of PR were generated. Overexpression of the A isoform of PR led to increased side branching, multilayered ducts, loss of basement membrane integrity, and alterations in matrix metalloproteinase activation in the mammary gland. Moreover, levels of TGFβ1 and p21 were diminished and those of cyclin D1 increased. Interestingly, the phenotype was counteracted by antiestrogens, suggesting that ER is essential for the manifestation of the hyperplasias. Mice overexpressing the B isoform of PR had limited ductal growth but retained the ability to differentiate during pregnancy. Levels of latent and active TGFβ1 were increased compared to PR-A transgenics. The phenotypes of these transgenic mice are further discussed in the context of the impact of progesterone on mammary stem cells and breast cancer. We conclude that an adequate balance between the A and B isoforms of PR is critical for tissue homeostasis. Future work to further understand the biology of PR in breast biology will hopefully lead to new and effective preventive and therapeutic alternatives for patients.

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