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Br J Cancer. 1996 Aug;74(3):439-45.

Enhanced paracellular barrier function of rat mesothelial cells partially protects against cancer cell penetration.

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Department of Pathology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


To study pathophysiological roles of mesothelial barrier functions in protection against cancer cell invasion, we isolated mesothelial cells from the rat abdominal cavity and then cultured them with 10(-6)M all-trans-retinoic acid (RA) for 10 days. Mesothelial barrier function assessed by measuring transcellular electrical resistance (TER) and the expression of 7H6 tight junction-associated antigen at the cell border were induced by the treatment (10.01 +/- 0.8 vs 6.05 +/- 0.7 omega cm2, without RA; mean +/- s.e.m., n = 10). Then we quantified the attachment and penetration of rat mammary cancer cells (SST-2 cells) into the mesothelial cell monolayer by prelabelling of the cancer cells with fluorescent dye and by observing optical sections at different heights using a laser confocal scanning microscope. When SST-2 cells were overlaid onto the mesothelial cell monolayer treated with RA, the number of cancer cells found at the basal level of the monolayer was significantly reduced. These results showed that enhanced mesothelial barrier function at least partially prevents the penetration of cancer cells into mesothelial cells and suggested that 7H6 antigen serves as a reliable immunocytochemical marker for monitoring mesothelial barrier function.

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