Wnt signaling in lactation: A balancing act

Jenifer R. Prosperi, Kathleen H. Goss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The mammary gland is unique in that most of its development and dynamic morphogenesis occurs postnatally in response to changes in the hormonal milieu. Multiple components of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway have been implicated in mouse mammary gland development. It is clear that the Wnt proteins themselves are important regulators of numerous stages throughout postnatal mammary gland development. Mouse models have been developed to analyze whether β-catenin stabilization, expression of pathway components, or expression of Wnt/-βcatenin target genes is sufficient to disrupt mammary gland development and lactation. In addition to the role of β-catenin in the Wnt signaling pathway, it is also a major component of the adherens junctions and as such, has a role in maintaining epithelial integrity, which is essential for lactation.Multiple components of the Wnt pathway are known to have cross-regulation with other signaling pathways involved in the lactogenic phenotype. Furthermore, investigation into the regulation of Wnt pathway components has demonstrated that hormones, such as progesterone, can regulate components of the Wnt pathway. Through various mouse models of mammary gland development, it has become clear that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is a critical regulator of normal mammary gland development. Interestingly, the specific roles of Wnt pathway regulators and components in lactation have given us insight to alterations that occur in breast tumor development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLactation
Subtitle of host publicationNatural Processes, Physiological Responses and Role in Maternity
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781622572434
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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