Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during embryogenesis are critical in defining the phenotype of tissues and organs. The initial elongation of the mammary bud represents a central morphological event requiring extensive epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk. The precise mechanism orchestrating this outgrowth is still unknown and mostly animal models have been relied upon to explore this process. Highly tunable three-dimensional (3D) culture models are a complementary approach to address the question of phenotypic determination. Here, we used a 3D in vitro culture to study the roles of stromal cells and extracellular matrix components during mammary tubulogenesis. Fibroblasts, adipocytes, and type I collagen actively participated in this process, whereas reconstituted basement membrane inhibited tubulogenesis by affecting collagen organization. We conclude that biochemical and biomechanical signals mediate the interaction between cells and matrix components and are necessary to induce tubulogenesis in vitro.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering