Long-term proliferation of mouse thymic epithelial cells in culture


Epithelial cells from the normal mouse thymus were successfully cultivated on tissue culture plastic when plated with lethally irradiated support cells of the LA7 rat mammary tumor line. As the irradiated LA7 cells slowly decreased in number the thymus cells proliferated concomitantly to form a confluent monolayer. The cells now in culture have been subcultured 8 times, have doubled in number at least 30 times, and are still proliferating vigorously. The culture technique also supported clonal growth from a single cell, and nine clones have been isolated. The colony-forming efficiency of thymic cells plated at low concentrations was about 8%. These cultures were never overgrown by fibroblasts. The thymus cells were characterized as epithelial by the presence of cytoplasmic keratin and numerous desmosomes and tonofilaments. They were shown to be mouse cells by immunocytochemistry with species specific antibodies, by isoenzyme analysis, and by karyology. The cells stained when reacted with antibodies to tubulin, vimentin, and actin, but not with antibodies to Thy-1.2, Lyt-1, Lyt-2, Ia, or H-2 proteins. More than 85% of the cells had a normal mouse diploid chromosome number of 40. This culture technique opens the way for future studies of T-cell education with homogeneous thymic epithelial cell populations both in vitro and after reimplantation into genetically defined strains of mice.

DOI: 10.1007/BF02621091

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@article{Ehmann1986LongtermPO, title={Long-term proliferation of mouse thymic epithelial cells in culture}, author={Ursula K. Ehmann and Robert A. Shiurba and Ward D. Peterson}, journal={In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology}, year={1986}, volume={22}, pages={738-748} }