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Critical Variables Controlling Cell Proliferation in Primary Cultures of Rat Tracheal Epithelial Cells

Thomas Gray, Joyce Rundhaug and Paul Nettesheim
In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology
Vol. 27A, No. 10 (Oct., 1991), pp. 805-814
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4296753
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Critical Variables Controlling Cell Proliferation in Primary Cultures of Rat Tracheal Epithelial Cells
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Abstract

The purpose of our experiments was to examine variables affecting early events in the establishment of rat tracheal epithelial (RTE) cultures as well as factors regulating long-term RTE cell growth. The experiments showed that when RTE cells were seeded into complete serum-free medium between 13 and 30% of the seeded cells attached. Of the seeded cells, only ~2% entered into DNA synthesis and underwent repeated cell divisions to form colonies containing >20 cells. Coating the dishes with extracellular matrix components had little effect on cell attachment or colony forming efficiency (CFE). However, coating the dishes with fetal bovine serum markedly increased CFE. The media components bovine serum albumin and bovine pituitary extract were shown to be important in promoting cell attachment as well as CFE. Cholera toxin on the other hand had no effect on cell attachment but significantly increased CFE. These and other studies showed that cell attachment and cell proliferation are independently regulated. Studies on long-term culture growth indicated that the number of progeny produced per colony forming unit (CFU) is inversely proportional to the number of CFUs seeded. Inasmuch as the cultures did not become confluent under any of the culture conditions tested and media obtained from high density cultures were shown to be growth inhibitory, these findings suggest that a diffusible growth restraining factor is being produced by the cultures limiting clonal expansion. Experiments showing growth inhibitory effects of media conditioned by high cell density cultures support this interpretation. The putative factor reaches critical concentrations earlier in cultures seeded with high numbers of CFU than in cultures seeded with low numbers of CFU. Because the cultures are known to produce transforming growth factor-beta, this growth regulator probably plays a role in controlling RTE cell proliferation. However, it is likely than other events, such as depletion of growth factors from the media, also are significant in regulating the growth of the cultures.

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