Mammary gland is an organ, which undergoes the majority of its development in the postnatal life of mammals. The complex structure of the mammary gland comprises epithelial and myoepithelial cells forming the parenchymal tissue and adipocytes, fibroblasts, vascular endothelial cells, and infiltrating immune cell composing the stromal compartment. During puberty and in adulthood, circulating hormones released from the pituitary and ovaries regulate the rate of development and functional differentiation of the mammary epithelium. In addition, growing body of evidence shows that interactions between the stromal and parenchymal compartments of the mammary gland play a crucial role in mammogenesis. This regulation takes place on a paracrine level, by locally synthesized growth factors, adipokines, and cytokines, as well as via direct cell-cell interactions. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge about the complex nature of interactions between the mammary epithelium and stroma during mammary gland development in different mammalian species.
Part of the book: Stromal Cells