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Spatial and temporal expression of insulin-like growth factor-I, insulin-like growth factor-II and the insulin-like factor-I receptor in the sheep fetal mammary gland


, : Spatial and temporal expression of insulin-like growth factor-I, insulin-like growth factor-II and the insulin-like factor-I receptor in the sheep fetal mammary gland. Journal of dairy research 66(1): 35-44

The mammary gland is an example of a tissue of epidermal origin that depends for the development of its characteristic morphology on underlying mesenchymal cells. The interaction between mesenchyme and epithelium appears to be mediated by polypetide growth factors. In situ hybridization has been used to study, in the mammary gland of female sheep fetuses, the distribution of mRNA for the mammary mitogens, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-II, and the IGF-I receptor, from 10 to 20 weeks of intrauterine life (term is approximately 22 weeks). At 10 weeks, secondary ducts had formed from the primary duct. By week 20, the gland had increased in volume and complexity, showing primitive lobules embedded in intralobular connective tissue disposed around main ducts. IGF-I and IGF-II mRNA were expressed in cells of the intralobular connective tissue underlying the epithelium, while the IGF-I receptor was expressed in epithelium. Quantitation by absorbance measurements showed that mRNA expression increased with pregnancy stage for IGF-I and IGF-II, but not significantly for the IGF-I receptor, and that IGF-II was more highly expressed than IGF-I. A role for the IGF system in mediating mesenchymal-epithelial interactions in mammary development is indicated.

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