Prolactin produced by the mammary gland itself– rather than by the pituitary – may play a direct role in the development of breast cancer

· TGI - Cancer
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Structure of the hormone prolactin

Structure of the hormone prolactin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The hormone prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and then travels via the bloodstream to cells throughout the body, where it exerts multiple reproductive and metabolic effects, most notably on the breast where it is the master regulator of lactation.

 

In recent years researchers have found that prolactin is also produced by some tissues outside the brain, however little is known about the functions of extra-pituitary prolactin or how its production is regulated in these tissues.

 

Now, researchers in the Department of Cancer Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, report in Genes & Development that activation of the PI3K-Akt oncogenic signaling pathway in the mammary glands of mice rapidly induces cells in the breast itself to produce prolactin. This, in turn, triggers Stat5 activation, mammary epithelial differentiation and milk production in virgin mice within a matter of hours.

 

Read more at: upenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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