, Volume 290, Issue 3, pp 593-599

The fibroblast-specific MAb AS02: a novel tool for detection and elimination of human fibroblasts

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The unwelcome presence of fibroblasts in many cell cultures prevents the long term cultivation of various cell types and work with pure populations. Recently, we described a novel fibroblast-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb AS02) that recognises a membrane-bound antigen. We have now developed a method using the fibroblast-specific MAb AS02 immobilised on goat-anti-mouse-magnetic beads to separate contaminating fibroblasts. An endothelial cell line experimentally contaminated with 5%–50% fibroblasts was successfully purified. Additionally, an endothelial cell line with an initial fibroblast contamination of 1.5% was prepared. A proportion of each preparation was cultured with no separation step being performed, whereas the remainder was cultured after purification with MAb AS02 to exclude the presence of a minor number of fibroblasts (<0.1%). The proportion of fibroblasts increased up to 38% in the fifth passage of culture without elimination of the low initial fibroblast contamination, whereas in the fraction with the separation step, no fibroblasts were detectable by flow cytometry, even after the fifth passage. We also used the antibody to detect the presence of naturally contaminating fibroblasts in thyrocyte cultures. After cultivation of thyrocyte cultures over five passages, the number of fibroblasts increased dramatically up to 50%–80% of the whole population. Subsequently, we successfully applied the method for complete elimination of naturally contaminating fibroblasts from freshly isolated thyrocyte cultures from enzymatically digested thyroid glands. Thus, MAb AS02 is a fibroblast-specific marker that is a useful tool for the detection and elimination of contaminating fibroblasts. The specificity of MAb AS02 permits the universal application of this antibody for human cell cultures of interest.