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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2010 Feb;46(2):114-22. doi: 10.1007/s11626-009-9247-9.

Human colon tissue in organ culture: preservation of normal and neoplastic characteristics.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Normal and neoplastic human colon tissue obtained at surgery was used to establish conditions for organ culture. Optimal conditions included an atmosphere of 5% CO2 and 95% O2; tissue partially submerged with mucosa at the gas interface; and serum-free medium with 1.5 mM Ca2+ and a number of growth supplements. Histological, histochemical, and immunohistochemical features that distinguish normal and neoplastic tissue were preserved over a 2-d period. With normal tissue, this included the presence of elongated crypts with small, densely packed cells at the crypt base and mucin-containing goblet cells in the upper portion. Ki67 staining, for proliferating cells, was confined to the lower third of the crypt, while expression of extracellular calcium-sensing receptor was seen in the upper third and surface epithelium. E-cadherin and β-catenin were expressed throughout the epithelium and confined to the cell surface. In tumor tissue, the same disorganized, abnormal glandular structures seen at time zero were present after 2 d. The majority of cells in these structures were mucin-poor, but occasional goblet cells were seen and mucin staining was present. Ki67 staining was seen throughout the abnormal epithelium and calcium-sensing receptor expression was weak and variable. E-cadherin was seen at the cell surface (similar to normal tissue), but in some places, there was diffuse cytoplasmic staining. Finally, intense cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin staining was observed in cultured neoplastic tissue.

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