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Growth and Differentiation of Human Keratinocytes without a Feeder Layer or Conditioned Medium

Donna M. Peehl and Richard G. Ham
In Vitro
Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1980), pp. 516-525
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4292373
Page Count: 10
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Growth and Differentiation of Human Keratinocytes without a Feeder Layer or Conditioned Medium
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Abstract

An improved procedure has been developed for clonal growth of normal human epidermal keratinocytes (HK) without feeder cells or conditioned medium. The use of medium 199, supplemented with $0.4 \mu g/ml$ hydrocortisone (HC) and 20% (v/v) whole fetal bovine serum (wFBS) and conditioned overnight by 3T3 cells, eliminated the need for a feeder layer of lethally irradiated 3T3 cells for HK growth. Several other media with equivalent conditioning and supplementation failed to support satisfactory multiplication of HK, including Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium, which is normally used for growth of HK with a feeder layer. Increasing the concentration of HC to $10 \mu g/ml (2.8 times 10^{-5} M)$ made possible clonal growth of HK without any conditioning of the medium. The addition of 10-5 M putrescine, $10^{-5} M vitamin B_{12}$, or $3.7 \times 10^{-6} M \beta-estradiol$ further enhanced growth in unconditioned medium. Substantially greater improvement was obtained by the addition of pituitary extract or fractions prepared from pituitary extract. In medium 199 supplemented with $10 \mu g/ml HC$, 20% (v/v) wFBS, and 0.15 mg/ml each of two pituitary fractions, single HK attach with a colony-forming efficiency equal to that in conditioned medium and form stratified, keratinized colonies that grow to confluency and can be subcultured. These results make it clear that HK do not require special "conditioning factors" from fibroblasts for clonal growth and differentiation in culture. Thus, factors directly involved in growth and the expression of differentiation can be analyzed without the interfering effects of any other type of cell. Preliminary studies with epidermal growth factor (EGF), which stimulates growth and extends life span of HK grown in the presence of fibroblasts, have shown that, in the absence of fibroblasts, EGF has no effect either on clonal growth or on cumulative multiplication potential of HK.

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