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  • Author or Editor: Judith A. Stasko x
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Abstract

Objective—To examine the impact of simple versus complex extracellular matrices (ECMs) on morphologic development and differentiation of bovine mammary gland progenitor cells (BMGPCs).

Sample Population—Cultures of BMGPCs.

Procedures—BMGPCs were grown on the following extracellular matrices: collagen I, collagen IV, laminin, and a commercially available gelatinous protein mixture. Cells were examined with light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

Results—Formation of organoids and production of the gap junction protein, connexin 43, were the criteria for BMGPC differentiation. The BMGPCs formed a 2-dimensional monolayer when grown on plastic, laminin, collagen I, or collagen IV. These cells did not have a network of cells forming epithelial organoids resembling a honeycomb. However, they did produce gap junction proteins. When BMGPCs were cultured on the commercially available gelatinous protein mixture, 3-dimensional epithelial organoids resembling a honeycomb formed and connexin 43 was produced. The thickness of the commercially available gelatinous protein mixture also regulated cell shape reorganization. Cell density affected the formation organoid networks and the rate at which monolayers reached confluency.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—When plated on a commercially available gelatinous protein mixture, the BMGPC culture system allowed us to simulate, in vitro, the interaction between epithelial cells in varying stages of differentiation and the microenvironment. Thus, a heterogenous ECM, such as the commercially available gelatinous protein mixture, is more physiologically relevant in providing a microenvironment for BMGPC lineage pathway differentiation to mimic an in vivo environment. In contrast, BMGPCs grown on homogenous ECM, although able to produce connexin 43, are unable to form organoids.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To isolate bovine mammary gland cells with stem cell characteristics.

Sample Population—Monolayers of bovine mammary gland cells.

Procedure—Mammary gland cell populations were separated by use of selected media supplements. Phenotypic characteristics were examined via light and transmission electron microscopy. Cellular expression of casein and connexin 43 was identified immunohistochemically. A scrape-loading and dye transfer assay was used to examine the mammary gland cell populations for homogenous gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC).

Results—Subpopulations of mammary gland cells grown in vitro are classified on the basis of their distinct morphologic features and ability to communicate via gap junctions. Ultrastructurally, 2 morphologically distinct cell types were classified as type I and II cells. Type I cells were small light undiffertiated cells and large light undifferentiated cells that were deficient in functional gap junctions (as is characteristic of stem cells). Type II cells included large light differentiated cells and terminally differentiated cells; GJIC was functional in type II cells. Type II cells had cytoplasmic expression of connexin 43, whereas, type I cells did not. All cells expressed casein.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Subpopulations of bovine mammary gland cells with stem cell characteristics were identified. Phenotypic differences are observed among type I bovine mammary gland cells with stem cell characteristics. Gap junctional intercellular communication may be necessary for the differentiation of stem cells. Characterization of bovine mammary gland stem cells and their progeny may provide a new tool with which to study mammary gland health. (Am J Vet Res 2003;63:396–403)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research