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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1995 Apr;12(4):385-95.

Phenotype and differentiation potential of a novel rat tracheal epithelial cell line.

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Laboratory of Pulmonary Pathobiology, National Institute of Environmental Health Science, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


In this report we described the establishment and characterization of a continuous rat tracheal epithelial (RTE) cell line spontaneously derived from secondary RTE cell cultures. Designated SPOC1, this cell line is nontumorigenic and maintains a diploid karyotype with specific, nonrandom chromosomal alterations involving chromosomes 1, 3, and 6. SPOC1 cells demonstrate decreased requirements for peptide growth factors, compared with primary RTE cells. Upon inoculation into denuded rat tracheas, which are then implanted into syngeneic hosts, SPOC1 cells initially form a stratified squamous epithelium, which becomes less stratified with time and forms glandlike invaginations into the surrounding lamina propria. No evidence of ciliated cell differentiation is detected. The epithelium formed by SPOC1 cells in tracheal grafts reacts with antibodies specific for keratin 14, 13, and 19 (but not keratin 18) at both early and late time points, although the localization of antibody staining changes as the epithelium becomes less stratified with time. The suprabasal epithelial cells become positive for alcian blue-periodic acid-Schiff staining at later time points. The near-normal karyotype and differentiation potential of SPOC1 cells make this cell line a unique window into early changes occurring during immortalization of airway epithelial cells and will allow studies of relationships between differentiation state and neoplastic transformation.

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