Tissue involution and the acute phase response


Publication Type:

Journal Article


Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 995, p.94-108 (2003)


0077-8923 (Print)<br/>0077-8923 (Linking)

Accession Number:



Acute-Phase Proteins/genetics/metabolism/*physiology, Acute-Phase Reaction/*immunology, Animals, Apoptosis, Epithelium/metabolism, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Inflammation/complications, Lipocalins, Mammary Glands, Animal/anatomy & histology/cytology/*immunology, Mice, Neoplasms/etiology, Oncogene Proteins/genetics/metabolism/*physiology, Reproduction, Uterus/anatomy & histology/cytology/*immunology


<p>After their roles in reproduction are completed, the mass of the uterus and the mammary gland decrease rapidly by the process of involution that involves an ordered series of events including apoptosis, neutrophil entry, the release of degradative enzymes, and phagocytosis of cellular debris. The acute phase proteins are produced by the liver and other tissues in response to inflammation or a toxic challenge. Uterocalin (SIP24/24p3) is one of these proteins. During involution, the mammary gland and uterus express high levels of uterocalin that reach an average of 0.2-0.5% of the total extractable protein at its peak. Uterocalin and its orthologues have been demonstrated in vitro to (1). bind certain fatty acids and (2). specifically induce apoptosis in neutrophils and other leukocytes. The period of uterocalin expression during involution is consistent with the hypothesis that one of its physiological roles is to induce apoptosis of invading neutrophils and delay the entry of neutrophils into the tissue until the second phase of involution. Interestingly, it has been shown that uterocalin expression remains higher in primiparous gland than in virgin glands after the pregnant glands have completely involuted. This observation and the known protective effect of early pregnancy on later development of breast cancer suggest that the ability of uterocalin to induce apoptosis in neutrophils might also decrease oxidative and carcinogenic activity in the gland and result in a lower mutation rate and thus a lower probability of cancer in the primiparous gland.</p>


Nilsen-Hamilton, Marit<br/>Liu, Quansheng<br/>Ryon, Joel<br/>Bendickson, Lee<br/>Lepont, Pierig<br/>Chang, Qing<br/>Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 May;995:94-108.