In vitro neoplastic transformation of mouse skin cells: morphology and ultrastructure of cells and tumors


Journal Article

Mixed cultures of epidermal and dermal cells from term fetuses of Balb/cAn mice were exposed to high concentrations (50 μg/ml) of 7,12 dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) in medium containing Tween 80 (T 80) or to medium with T 80 alone for 45 min. Within 5 wk the cultures exposed to DMBA began to exhibit accelerated growth in vitro and an epithelioid morphology. These same changes occurred in the T 80 treated group starting around 15 wk in culture. Both sets of cultures remained epithelioid in appearance and rapidly growing for over 9 mth. Injections of cells into syngeneic hosts, beginning approximately 21 wk after treatment, gave rise to undifferentiated tumors. Animals receiving carcinogen treated cells had more tumors than those receiving vehicle treated cells. Ultrastructural studies of the transformed cells in vitro suggested that they were of keratinocyte origin, but DMBA + T 80 treated cells were more differentiated than cells treated with T 80 alone. 80 to 100 Å cytofilaments, presumably identical to tonofilaments in vivo, were organized into bundles which traversed both the cellular endoplasm and ectoplasm, either terminating on adherens like junctional structures, or looping back into the cytoplasm after attaching peripherally to such structures. After transplantation into syngeneic hosts, transformed cells from both groups produced tumors which ultrastructurally resembled anaplastic squamous cell carcinomas. When highly undifferentiated tumors derived from DMBA + T 80 treated cells were recultured, more differentiated features reappeared. This observation indicates an important role for the cellular milieu in the determination of phenotypic expression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Elias, PM; Yuspa, SH; Gullino, M; Morgan, DL; Bates, RR; Lutzner, MA

Published Date

  • January 1, 1974

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 62 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 569 - 581

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-202X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12679422

Citation Source

  • Scopus