IGF Ligand and Receptor Regulation of Mammary Development

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The insulin-like growth factors, IGF-I and IGF-II, have endocrine as well as autocrine-paracrine actions on tissue growth. Both IGF ligands are expressed within developing mammary tissue throughout postnatal stages with specific sites of expression in the epithelial and stromal compartments. The elucidation of circulating versus local actions and of epithelial versus stromal actions of IGFs in stimulating mammary epithelial development has been the focus of several laboratories. The recent studies addressing IGF ligand function provide support for the hypotheses that (1) the diverse sites of IGF expression may mediate different cellular outcomes, and (2) IGF-I and IGF-II are distinctly regulated and have diverse functions in mammary development. The mechanisms for IGF function likely are mediated, in part, through diverse IGF signaling receptors. The local actions of the IGF ligands and receptors as revealed through recent publications are the focus of this review.

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