Cell cultures derived from Peyronie's disease plaque and normal penile tissue were characterized morphologically and examined by immunofluorescence for actin cable formation, and their growth properties were compared. Relative to normal penile cell cultures which grew as contact inhibited, poorly refractile fibroblast-like cells, plaque derived cell cultures consisted of round and spindle shaped cells that were more refractile and exhibited random crisscross growth patterns. Scanning electron microscopy of plaque derived cell cultures revealed changes in cell surface topography characterized by the appearance of surface membrane blebs and microvilli. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated cells containing organized cytoplasmic microfilament bundles and nuclear indentations which resembled myofibroblasts. Such alterations were less extensive or absent in normal penile cell cultures. The amount and extent of actin cable formation was increased in plaque derived compared to normal penile cell cultures. Plaque derived cells also exhibited differences in growth properties and grew to higher saturation densities than their normal counterparts. These results demonstrate that cells derived from Peyronie's disease plaque can be grown in vitro and that these cells are morphologically altered and have an enhanced proliferative capacity. The availability of these cell cultures will permit studies directed at understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of Peyronie's disease.
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