Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2012

Journal Title

Endocrinology

ISSN

1945-7170

Volume

153

Issue

6

First Page

2701

Last Page

2713

DOI

10.1210/en.2011-1761

PubMed ID

22508516

PubMed Central® ID

PMC3359608

Abstract

Aromatase is essential for estrogen production and is the target of aromatase inhibitors, the most effective endocrine treatment for postmenopausal breast cancer. Peripheral tissues in women, including the breast, express aromatase via alternative promoters. Female mice lack the promoters that drive aromatase expression in peripheral tissues; thus, we generated a transgenic humanized aromatase (Arom(hum)) mouse line containing a single copy of the human aromatase gene to study the link between aromatase expression in mammary adipose tissue and breast pathology. Arom(hum) mice expressed human aromatase, driven by the proximal human promoters II and I.3 and the distal promoter I.4, in breast adipose fibroblasts and myoepithelial cells. Estrogen levels in the breast tissue of Arom(hum) mice were higher than in wild-type mice, whereas circulating levels were similar. Arom(hum) mice exhibited accelerated mammary duct elongation at puberty and an increased incidence of lobuloalveolar breast hyperplasia associated with increased signal transducer and activator of transcription-5 phosphorylation at 24 and 64 wk. Hyperplastic epithelial cells showed remarkably increased proliferative activity. Thus, we demonstrated that the human aromatase gene can be expressed via its native promoters in a wide variety of mouse tissues and in a distribution pattern nearly identical to that of humans. Locally increased tissue levels, but not circulating levels, of estrogen appeared to exert hyperplastic effects on the mammary gland. This novel mouse model will be valuable for developing tissue-specific aromatase inhibition strategies.

Keywords

Aromatase, estrogens, female, enzymologic, hyperplasia, immunohistochemistry, mammary glands, mice

Share

COinS