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Exp Cell Res. 1994 Nov;215(1):97-108.

Reciprocal interactions between human ovarian surface epithelial cells and adjacent extracellular matrix.

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Department of Anatomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The human ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), or ovarian mesothelium, is functionally complex as seen by its capacity to proliferate, migrate, and contribute to ovulation and ovulatory repair in response to cyclic hormonal and environmental changes. We wished to determine whether this phenotypic versatility is reflected in cell-extracellular matrix interactions in primary and low-passage culture. Comparisons of cultures maintained on different substrata revealed that these cells form cohesive monolayers on plastic, while fibrin clots enhance cell dispersion, and thus may provide a migratory cue. The cells invaded Matrigel as multicellular aggregates, while collagen gels mediated a morphologic epithelial-mesenchymal conversion. On plastic, the cells produced extracellular matrix components characteristic of epithelial basement membrane (laminin and collagen type IV), as well as stroma (collagen types I and III). In addition, ovarian surface epithelial cells secreted serine proteases and matrix metalloproteinases. The levels of chymotrypsin- and elastase-like proteases were dictated by the substratum: low levels were secreted by cells grown on plastic, intermediate levels on collagen gels and fibrin clots, and most protease was produced on Matrigel. The rate of cell proliferation varied with the substrata and was inversely related to protease secretion. Integrin expression was greatest on plastic and least on collagen gels where integrins were downregulated with time. alpha 6/beta 4 was absent from all cells while varying levels of alpha 2, alpha 3, alpha 5, beta 1, and vitronectin receptor were detected depending on the culture substratum employed. In low-passage cultures of human ovarian surface epithelial cells, then, cell shape, growth, protease production, and integrin expression are modulated by the extracellular matrix. The cells, in turn, alter extracellular matrix by synthesis, lysis, and physical remodeling, and express both stromal and epithelial characteristics. The broad repertoire of these functions may be related to their mesodermal origin, and may reflect the expression of a dual, epithelio-mesenchymal phenotype by relatively immature, uncommitted cells. The results demonstrate the great complexity and versatility of these interactions which render OSE cells capable of participating in numerous physiological and pathological processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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