General Anatomy

In the vast majority of mature mammals, the mammary gland is a compound tubulo-alveolar organ, although exceptions do exist (e.g., among monotremes and platypi). Milk is formed in secretory alveoli and channeled down progressively larger ducts until it reaches the gland and teat cisterns (when present). Milk is removed through the canals or galactophores of the teat or nipple. Collectively, the secretory and ductular tissue present in the mammary gland is referred to as parenchyma. The connective tissues that support the parenchyma are referred to as the stroma, which contains cellular and noncellular (e.g., collagen, elastin) elements. Cells of the stroma are primarily fibroblast; however, stroma also contains immune cells that are resident or transitory, as well as cells of blood vessels and lymphatics.

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