Effects of Endogenous and Exogenous Hormones on the Female Breast With Special Reference to the Expression of Proteoglycans
Abstract: This thesis aims to study the effects of endogenous and exogenous hormones and mammographic breast density (BD) on cellular markers in non-cancerous female breast tissue. Women on the waiting list for breast reduction plastic surgery were recruited (n = 79), and randomized to 2 months of hormone therapy or no therapy before surgery. The women had a mammogram and a needle biopsy 2 months before surgery and tissue samples were obtained at the operation. In premenopausal women, estrogen receptor (ER)? levels were associated with age (p = 0.0002), were similar in the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle and were higher in parous than in nulliparous women (p = 0.009). Current smokers had lower PR levels than non-smokers (p = 0.019). Women on oral contraception had lower ER? (p = 0.048) and PR (p = 0.007) levels than women in the follicular phase. The ER? levels did not differ significantly between postmenopausal estrogen and estrogen-progestogen users, but PR levels were lower among estrogen-progestogen users (p = 0.03). We found lower expression of the genes for decorin and syndecans 1 and 4 in the luteal phase than in the follicular phase, among parous women. Protein levels of the androgen receptor, syndecan-4 and decorin was lower in premenopausal women who were using oral contraceptives (OC) than in those in the follicular phase (p = 0.002 - 0.02), whereas no significant differences between OC use and the luteal phase were found.In premenopausal women, BD was negatively associated with age and body mass index but was similar for the menstrual phases. Breast density was associated with genetic expression of the androgen receptor and remained significant after adjustment for age (rs = 0.56; p = 0.04). After adjustement for age, breast density was also marginally associated with expression of the caspase 3 gene (0.55; 0.053). However, protein levels of caspase 3 was negatively associated (-0.61; 0.03).
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