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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol. 1985 Mar;21(3 Pt 1):143-53.

Isolation and differentiation of cloned epithelial cell lines from normal rat mammary glands.


Single-cell-cloned cell lines have been established from primary cultures of neonatal rat mammary glands. A representative cuboidal cell line, Rama 704, shows the presence of intermediate filamental proteins keratin and vimentin, and occasional cells express milk fat globule membrane antigens on their apical surfaces. Rama 704 cells grow as a cuboidal pavement in culture and produce hemispherical blisters or domes when confluent. Noteworthy ultrastructural features are the presence of junctional complexes, desmosomes, and apical microvilli typical of epithelia. Cells seeded within floating collagen gels will form a variety of multicellular outgrowths, some of which are ductlike in morphology and are composed of polarized cells surrounding a central lumen. The cuboidal cells produce elongated cells under conditions of high cell density and also when cells float off collagen gels and reattach to the plastic substrate. The former elongated cells have been cloned and three cell lines established: Rama 710, 711, and 712; the latter uncloned elongated cells are termed Rama 704E. The cloned elongated cells show an increase in the amounts of basement membrane proteins deposited, a lack of junctional complexes and microvilli, and an increase in the amount of rough endoplasmic reticulum compared with their parental cells. Rama 704E cells show an enhanced deposition of basement membrane proteins and increased amounts of actin in the cytoplasm over the elongated cell lines and contain microfilaments and pinocytotic vesicles similar to those seen in myoepithelial cells. All the elongated cells and lines fail to form ductlike structures within collagen gels. None of the cell lines form tumors in syngeneic rats although they all produce some tumors in nude mice, which are composed of cords of epithelioid cells and spindle cells in varying proportions. In addition, some of the Rama 704 tumors contain rhabdomyoblastic elements that penetrate the host fat pad. This is the first report of the isolation and characterization of a stable cuboidal cell line from a neonatal rat mammary gland. The Rama 704 cell line shows morphological and biochemical features of mammary epithelial cells and converts at high cell density to elongated cells that have also been cloned.

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