High density culture
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary In the present study we describe a new method to cultivate human tumors, which allows organoid differentiation under in vitro conditions. Diverse tumors of different origin and various histopathology which had been heterotransplanted to athymic mice were dissociated into single cells and seeded at high cell density onto a membrane filter consisting of cellulose nitrate at the gas-medium interface. Within a few days, the tumor cells reorganized and differentiated into organoid structures which exhibited the typical histological characteristics of the original tissues. Due to the formation of organoid aggregates, which was also previously seen with normal fetal cells, this type of culture has been described as ‘organoid culture’. In the case of adenocarcinomas of the lung and the colon including the rectum, glandular structures with central lumina, adjacent microvilli, and junctional complexes were formed. Numerous specific intercellular contacts such as desmosomes and tight junctions occurred as well as interdigitations of adjacent cell membranes. In a tumor of the rectum, a typical brush border differentiated at the surface of the reorganized tumor-tissue aggregate. Epidermoid carcinomas of the head and neck developed structures resembling the spinous layer of the epidermis, exhibiting numerous desmosomes and intracytoplasmic bundles of tonofilaments radiating into the desmosomes. Most tumors produced a fragmentary monolayered or multilayered basal lamina of similar morphological appearance as under in vivo conditions. These results illustrate the organoid reorganization and differentiation of human tumor cells under the experimentally rather simple conditions of the organoid culture systems and clearly demonstrate that this in vitro system comes close to the in vivo situation as far as certain differentiation phenomena are concerned.
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