Does female mammary tissue have receptors for testosterone hormones?

Do male hormones influence female mammary glands, as female hormones influenced the male mammary tissue, such as in gynecomastia?


1 Answer 1


The female mammary gland tissue contains androgen receptors (testosterone is an androgen). So this tissue is sensitive to androgens, and they inhibit the estrogen-induced proliferation. The inactivation of the androgen receptor on the other hand leads to an accelerated growth of the pubertal mammary gland and to the upregulation of estrogen receptor α expression in female mice. See references 1-3.

And the androgen receptor also seem very important in the formation of the nipples, as testosterone here directs apoptosis in the forming breast tissue. Mice without a functioning androgen receptor were born without nipples. See reference 4 and 5 for details.

To answer your question shortly: Yes, androgen hormones (among them testosterone) have a profound influence on the female mammary gland.


  1. Testosterone inhibits estrogen-induced mammary epithelial proliferation and suppresses estrogen receptor expression.
  2. Minireview: The Androgen Receptor in Breast Tissues: Growth Inhibitor, Tumor Suppressor, Oncogene
  3. Androgen receptor inactivation resulted in acceleration in pubertal mammary gland growth, upregulation of ERα expression, and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in female mice.
  4. Hormone Action in the Mammary Gland
  5. Specificity of tissue interaction and origin of mesenchymal cells in the androgen response of the embryonic mammary gland.
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    – Chris
    Jan 8, 2016 at 14:07

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