Mammary crest

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Mammary crest
Latin crista mammaria
Anatomical terminology

The mammary crest is a primordium[1] specific for the mammary gland on the breast and is often associated with mammary gland development and breast development.


The mammary crest usually appears as a narrow, microscopic ectodermal thickening during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy and grows caudally as a narrow, linear crest.[1] Mammary lines begin to shorten and ectodermal cells begin to divide and grow into the mesenchymal cell layer.[2] A basement membrane separating the expanding ectodermal crest structure and the underlying mesoderm usually remains. The mammary crest then becomes recognizable in the thoracic region in the human embryo.

A mammary crest usually stops growing at 8 weeks and its length is regressed starting at the caudal end and extending cranially,[1] so that what remains is a round, ectodermic placode where the axilla develops. When shortening of the mammary crest is complete, the structure remains prominent in the areas where the mammary glands eventually form.


  1. ^ a b c Ernst, Linda; Rucelli, Eduardo D.; Huff, Dale S. (2007). Color Atlas of Fetal and Neonatal Histology. 
  2. ^ "Mammary Development - Fetal". University of Illinois. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 

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