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J Invest Dermatol. 1986 Jul;87(1):95-101.

Human melanocytes cultured from nevi and melanomas.


The requirements for growth factors of human melanocytes in culture may be dependent on the stage of malignant transformation. Several factors synergistically promote the viability and proliferation of human neonatal melanocytes in culture. They are TPA (12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate), isobutylmethyl xanthine, cholera toxin, and as yet unidentified factors from extracts derived from several cell lines and human placenta. Neonatal melanocytes can maintain at least 50 population doublings during a period of 6 months, whereas melanocytes from adult skin proliferate only for 1 month and at less than 1% of the proliferative rate of melanocytes derived from newborn foreskins. In contrast, melanocytes from dysplastic and congenital nevi proliferate well in the presence of mitogens during the initial 4-6 weeks of culture, but then become quiescent. Melanocytes from primary melanomas are the most difficult to grow in culture. They need the mitogens, but their rate of proliferation is slow. Most of the metastatic melanocyte strains that do not need the mitogens in order to proliferate, are strongly inhibited by TPA, and to a lesser extent by WI-38 cell extract. We conclude that the acquisition of independence from mitogens in culture is a late event in the transformation of melanocytes to melanomas.

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