Journal of tissue culture methods

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 95–105 | Cite as

Isolation, cultivation, and characterization of normal human esophageal epithelial cells

  • Susan P. Banks-Schlegel
Article

Summary

Normal human esophageal epithelial cells can now be grown and serially propagated in cell culture either using serum-containing medium and lethally irradiated 3T3 fibroblasts to support epithelial cell growth or using hormone-supplemented, serum-free medium without a 3T3 “feeder” layer. The cells continue to express many differentiated functions characteristic of the native epithelium. When grown in serum-containing medium, the esophageal epithelial cell colonies are stratified and consist of a basal layer of dividing cells giving rise to the more differentiated cells in the upper cell layers. The cells contain keratin proteins and desmosomes between adjacent cells. The cells express other markers of terminal squamous differentiation, namely, involucrin and cross-linked envelopes. When grown in serum-free, hormone-supplemented medium, the colonies remain as a monolayer rather than stratifying because of the low levels of calcium required for optimal growth. Increased levels of calcium or the presence of serum (2.5% or greater) lead to stratification. The cells grown under serum-free conditions continue to express squamous differentiated properties as keratins, desmosomes (decreased numbers in low-calcium medium), involucrin, and cross-linked envelopes.

Key words

human esophagus epithelium cell culture differentiation keratin 

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Copyright information

© Tissue Culture Association, Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan P. Banks-Schlegel
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Human CarcinogenesisNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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