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Open Access Spontaneous Pituitary Abnormalities and Mammary Hyperplasia in FVB/NCr Mice: Implications for Mouse Modeling

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The FVB/N mouse strain is widely used in the generation of transgenic mouse models. We have observed that mammary glands of wild-type virgin female FVB/NCr mice frequently have the morphologic and histologic appearance of a gland during pregnancy. By 13 months of age, the mammary glands of more than 40% of the mice examined had lobuloalveolar hyperplasia that was characterized by the presence of secretory alveoli and distended ducts apparently containing secretory material. The prevalence of this phenotype further increased with age. The mammary phenotype was highly correlated with the presence of proliferative, prolactin-secreting lesions in the pituitary gland. In mice aged 18 to 23 months, hyperplasia of the pars distalis was seen in 11 of 21 mice (52%), and a further 4 of 21 mice (19%) had pituitary adenomas. Pituitary hyperplasia was already evident in some mice as young as nine months. The pituitary phenotype was also associated with high prevalence (4/6 mice) of spontaneous mammary tumors in aged multiparous, but not virgin FVB/NCr mice. This high prevalence of pituitary abnormalities and their effects on the mammary gland have important consequences for the interpretation of new phenotypes generated in transgenic models using this mouse substrain.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 2: Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology, Sinsheimer Laboratories, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064 3: Departamento de Patologia Animal II, Facultad de Veterinaria, Cuidad Universitaria 28040 Madrid, Spain 4: Division of Life Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 5: Department of Medical Pathology and the UCD Center for Comparative Medicine, 98 County Road and Hutchison Drive, University of California, Davis, California 95616 6: Pathology/Histotechnology Lab, Scientific Applications International Corporation, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick Maryland 21702

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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