Open Access Mouse Mammary Gland Is Refractory to the Effects of Ethanol after Natural Lactation

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Ethanol is a dietary factor that dose-dependently increases breast cancer risk in women. We previously have shown that ethanol increases mammary epithelial density through increased branching after dietary exposure during puberty in CD2/F1 mice. To extend these studies to parous mice in a breast cancer model, we used a transgenic mouse model of human parity-associated breast cancer, the FVB-MMTV-Her2/Neu mouse, which overexpresses wildtype EGFR2, resulting in constitutive activation of growth signaling in the mammary epithelium. Here we describe the short-term effects of ethanol feeding on progression through involution. Mice were fed diets supplemented with 0%, 0.5%, 1%, or 2% ethanol for 4, 9, or 14 d starting on day 21 of lactation (that is, at the start of natural postlactational involution). Unlike peripubertal mice exposed to ethanol, postlactational dams showed no changes in body weight; liver, spleen, and kidney weights; and pathology. Ethanol exposure had no effect on mammary gland lobular density and adipocyte size throughout involution. Likewise, the infiltration of inflammatory cells and serum oxidized lipid species were unchanged by diet, suggesting that ethanol feeding had no effect on local inflammation (leukocyte infiltration) or systemic inflammation (oxidized lipids). In conclusion, ethanol exposure of parous dams had no effect on mammary gland structure or the regression of the lactating mammary gland to a resting state. The period of involution that follows natural lactation appears to be refractory to developmental effects of ethanol on mammary epithelium.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Laboratory Animal Facilities, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA 2: Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA 3: Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Professions, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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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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