Author(s): Sun TT
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Abstract The differentiation of cultured stratified epithelial cells can deviate significantly from that of normal epithelium, leading to suggestions that cultured cells undergo abnormal differentiation, or a truncated differentiation. Thus cultured epidermal and corneal epithelial cells stop synthesizing their tissue-specific keratin pair K1/K10 and K3/K12, respectively. The replacement of these keratins in the suprabasal compartment by K6/K16 keratins that are made by all stratified squamous epithelia during hyperplasia rules out a truncated differentiation. Importantly, the keratin pattern of in vivo corneal epithelium undergoing wound repair mimics that of cultured rabbit corneal epithelial cells. Although cultured urothelial cells continue to synthesize uroplakins, which normally form two-dimensional crystalline urothelial plaques covering almost the entire apical urothelial surface, these proteins do not assemble into crystals in cultured cells. Cultured epithelial cells can, however, rapidly regain normal differentiation on the removal of mitogenic stimuli, the use of a suitable extracellular matrix, or the transplantation of the cells to an in vivo, nonmitogenic environment. These data suggest that cultured epithelial cells adopt altered differentiation patterns mimicking in vivo regenerating or hyperplastic epithelia. Blocking the synthesis of tissue-specific differentiation products, such as the K1 and K10 keratins designed to form extensive disulfide cross-links in cornified cells, or the assembly of uroplakin plaques allows epithelial cells to better migrate and proliferate, activities that are of overriding importance during wound repair. Cultured urothelial and other stratified epithelial cells provide excellent models for studying the regulation of the synthesis and assembly of differentiation products, a key cellular process during epithelial wound repair.
This article was published in Am J Physiol Renal Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering