The nipple: A simple intersection of mammary gland and integument, but focal point of organ function

Sachiko Koyama, Hsin Jung Wu, Teresa Easwaran, Sunil Thopady, John Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Having glands that secrete milk to nourish neonatal offspring characterizes all mammals. We provide a brief overview of the development and anatomy of nipples and mammary glands in monotremes, marsupials, and marine mammals, and focus on the nipples and mammary glands in terrestrial eutherian species. We first classify eutherians into three groups: the altricial, precocial, and arboreal types based on their rearing system. We then summarize the physiology of lactation and the cell biology of nipples with specific focus on comparing these in the mouse, cow, and human, which represent the three different groups. Finally we propose that the nipple is an example of specialized epidermis. As specialized epidermis, it is dependent the underlying stroma for development and maintenance in adult life. The development of the nipple and signaling pathways that regulate its formation are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Keywords

  • Areola
  • Breast cancer
  • Keratins
  • Lactation
  • Nipple

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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