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Parity is associated with an expanded macrophage population in the mammary gland
International Journal of Oncology
  • Wei Zhao, Iowa State University
  • Clinton J. Grubbs, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Ronald K. Myers, Iowa State University
  • Marit Nilsen-Hamilton, Iowa State University
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Pregnancy is a well established protective factor against breast cancer. One explanation for protection is the increased differentiation status of the parous epithelium. However, this does not explain the association of parity with increased aggressiveness of breast cancers, particularly cancers that occur soon after pregnancy. Because tumor aggressiveness can be influenced by the cell population that surrounds the mammary epithelium, we examined the potential role of the immune system in establishing a long-term difference between the mammary glands of primiparous and virgin animals. Specific mRNA levels, enzyme activities and antigen expressing cells were quantified in primiparous and virgin mammary glands from Sprague-Dawley rats in diestrous. Our results show that macrophages, but not neutrophils or B-cells, are specifically increased in fully involuted glands compared with age-matched virgin mammary glands. Macrophages play a dual role in tumor progression, both opposing and supporting the process. Our finding of an increased macrophage population in the primiparous mammary gland could explain the dichotomy of the reported association of parity with decreased breast cancer incidence and increased breast cancer aggressiveness.

This is an article from International Journal of Oncology 37 (2010): 1195, doi:10.3892/ijo_00000771. Posted with permission.

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Spandidos Publications
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Wei Zhao, Clinton J. Grubbs, Ronald K. Myers and Marit Nilsen-Hamilton. "Parity is associated with an expanded macrophage population in the mammary gland" International Journal of Oncology Vol. 37 Iss. 5 (2010) p. 1195 - 1202
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