We report methods allowing the culture of rapidly dividing gastric epithelial cells to investigate the regulation of mucosal cell replication. Cells from canine fundic mucosa were dispersed by enzyme treatment, enriched by filtration and elutriation, and cultured on collagen gel in DMEM/F12 medium. After 48 h, greater than 95% of the cells displayed immunoreactivity with antibody to cytokeratin, an epithelial marker. The cells formed confluent monolayers by 72 h with a transmembrane resistance of 1,600 ohm.cm2 when mounted in a Ussing chamber indicating retention of epithelial cell characteristics. Calf serum (0.1-2%) produced a dose-dependent mitogenic effect evident by increases in [3H]-thymidine incorporation into acid-precipitated material and in cell number. After an 18-24-h incubation with [3H]-thymidine, approximately 55% of the cells cultured in 2% serum showed evidence of DNA synthesis by autoradiography and all of the replicating cells were cytokeratin positive. Using comparable culture conditions, a similar proportion of cells incubated for 18-24 h with bromodeoxyuridine displayed nuclear anti-bromodeoxyuridine immunoreactivity, thus indicating that over half of the cells in these cultures synthesized DNA during this period. As with serum, epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF alpha) (10 pM to 1 nM), insulin (10 nM to 1 microM) and insulinlike growth factor-I (IGF-I, 1-100 nM) increased [3H]-thymidine uptake. The greater potency of IGF-I, compared to insulin, suggests the presence of IGF-I receptors. We conclude that this culture preparation is composed of fundic mucosal epithelial cells and contains a predominance of dividing epithelial cells. EGF/TGF alpha and IGF-I are potential factors directly regulating proliferation of fundic mucosal cells.


M C Chen, A T Lee, A H Soll


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