Correct temporal and spatial regulation of apoptosis is critical for normal mammary gland development and lactation. Previous work with a strain of transgenic mice that overexpress des(1-3)hIGF-I during pregnancy and lactation suggested that this growth factor inhibits apoptosis. The hypothesis tested within these studies is that overexpression of des(1-3)hIGF-I within the mammary gland inhibits apoptosis and the expression of apoptosis-associated genes that are known to be activated by the transcription factor AP-1. This inhibition of apoptosis was further posited to predispose the tissue to carcinogenesis. TUNEL analysis of mammary tissue from transgenic mice that overexpress des(1-3)hIGF-I under control of the rat whey acidic protein promoter showed only 25% (P < 0.05) of the number of apoptotic cells found in nontransgenic mice at the same stage of lactation. Northern analysis of RNA from these animals showed a 75% (P = 0.08) reduction in c-Jun mRNA abundance. Histological analysis of mammary tissue from nonlactating multiparous WAP-DES mice ranging in age from 13 to 25 months showed a variety of hyperplastic lesions. These lesions aberrantly expressed the transgene. At 23 months of age 50% of the transgenic mice within this study developed adenocarcinomas. These results support the conclusion that inhibition of apoptosis within the mammary gland by IGF-I involves decreased activity of AP-1 and predisposes the tissue to tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology