Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In this study the structural changes which occur during human pregnancy were examined by light and electron microscopy. Pregnancy was associated with proliferation and differentiation of the epithelial cells within the lobules. Proliferation was continuous throughout pregnancy with a progressive increase in the size of the lobules. The highest level of mitosis was observed in the first trimester with lower levels in the second and third trimesters. Unexpectedly a number of apoptotic cells were observed during pregnancy. Differentiation was initiated in the second trimester with an increase in the amount of rough endoplasmic reticulum and the appearance of a hypertrophic Golgi body and lipid droplets within a number of epithelial cells. A number of small vacuoles were present close to the apical plasmalemma of a few epithelial cells. As the pregnancy proceeded there was an increase in the number of cells exhibiting these features. There was also an increase in the size of the lipid droplets and the number of apical vacuoles. The apical vacuoles which have not been described previously range in size from 150-600 nm with the contents of the larger vacuoles having a whorled or labyrinth-like appearance.


Journal article


Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol

Publication Date





163 - 175


Adult, Breast, Cell Differentiation, Cell Division, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Female, Golgi Apparatus, Humans, Lipids, Microscopy, Electron, Mitosis, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Vacuoles