Editorial: The mammary stroma in normal development and function

Pepper Schedin, Russell C. Hovey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The mammary gland can no longer be simply viewed as an organ composed of epithelial cells within a passive stromal microenvironment. Many lines of evidence have evolved to reinforce the notion that mammary epithelial cell growth, differentiation, lactation and progression to cancer involves bidirectional interactions between the epithelial population and its surrounding stroma. Within this stroma are numerous systems that are all capable of modulating epithelial function. In this context, the mammary stroma is not simply a depot of adipose tissue in which mammary epithelial cells undertake a unique growth and differentiation process, although adipocytes can impart numerous modulatory signals to epithelial cells, and vice versa. Rather, the stromal environment constitutes and supports a critical vasculature that supplies nutrients and endocrine cues, a lymphatic system that not only removes metabolites but also provides an intimate interface with the immune system, and an extracellular matrix scaffold in which epithelial cells grow, differentiate and regress. Ultimately all of these components play a critical role in directing the epithelial phenotype during normal mammary gland growth and function. An increasing appreciation for these different systems demands a view of mammary epithelial cells in a much different light, and further necessitates the development of model systems that incorporate and integrate increasing complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-277
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelial
  • Immune
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Mammary fat pad
  • Stroma
  • Vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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