Mouse mammary epithelial cells form mammospheres during lactogenic differentiation

Bethanie Morrison*, Mary Lou Cutler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A phenotypic measure commonly used to determine the degree of lactogenic differentiation in mouse mammary epithelial cell cultures is the formation of dome shaped cell structures referred to as mammospheres. The HC11 cell line has been employed as a model system for the study of regulation of mammary lactogenic differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. The HC11 cells differentiate and synthesize milk proteins in response to treatment with lactogenic hormones. Following the growth of HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells to confluence, lactogenic differentiation was induced by the addition of a combination of lactogenic hormones including dexamethasone, insulin, and prolactin, referred to as DIP. The HC11 cells induced to differentiate were photographed at times up to 120 hours post induction of differentiation and the number of mammospheres that appeared in each culture was enumerated. The size of the individual mammospheres correlates with the degree of differentiation and this is depicted in the images of the differentiating cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1265
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number32
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular Biology
  • HC11
  • Issue 32
  • Lactogenic differentiation
  • Mammary
  • Mammospheres


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