Keratinocyte growth factor is a growth factor for mammary epithelium in vivo: The mammary epithelium of lactating rats is resistant to the proliferative action of keratinocyte growth factor

Thomas R. Ulich, Eunhee S. Yi, Robert Cardiff, Songmei Yin, Nadim Bikhazi, Rebecca Biltz, Charles F. Morris, Glenn F. Pierce

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108 Scopus citations


Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) is a member of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family. KGF is secreted by stromal cells and affects epithelial but not mesenchymal cell proliferation. KGF injected intravenously was found to cause dramatic proliferation of mammary epithelium in the mammary glands of rats. KGF causes ductal neogenesis and intraductal epithelial hyperplasia but not lobular differentiation in nulliparous female rats. KGF causes ductal and lobular epithelial hyperplasia in male rats. KGF causes proliferation of ductal and acinar cells in the mammary glands of pregnant rats. On the other hand, the ductal epithelium of lactating postpartum rats is resistant to the proliferative action of KGF. The mammary glands of lactating rats did not express less KGF receptor mRNA than the glands of pregnant rats, suggesting that the resistance of the ductal epithelium to KGF during lactation is not related to KGF receptor mRNA down-regulation. The mammary glands of both pregnant and postpartum lactating rats express KGF mRNA with more KGF present in the glands of lactating rats. In conclusion, the KGF and KGF receptor genes are expressed in rat mammary glands and recombinant KGF is a potent growth factor for mammary epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-868
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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