Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert K. Dearth

Second Advisor

Dr. Megan Keniry

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Gilkerson


Precocious puberty (PP) is a serious endocrine disorder associated with an increased risk for development of breast cancer (BC) later in life. However, the lack of a strong in vivo model has made it difficult to study this relationship. Our group has established manganese (Mn) as a non-toxic activator of the pubertal process. Recently we demonstrated that Mn-induced precocious puberty (MnPP) accelerates E2-regulated mammary gland (MG) development in prepubertal female rats, resulting in persistent proliferation and adult hyperplasia. Using this model, I demonstrate that precocious puberty alters steroidal regulation of proliferation in both the prepubertal and adult virgin MG, altering the MG epithelial landscape and consequently sensitizing the gland to proliferative stimulus and malignant transformation. I further highlight puberty as a critical developmental window, demonstrating that the timing of E2 exposure is of greater importance in precocious puberty-related BC risk than the exposure itself.


Copyright 2017 Alina M. Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

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