Long-term culture of human esophageal explants and cells

James H. Resau, Patricia C. Phelps, Si min Zhu, Duane Smoot, Hsiang Kuang Lee, John R. Cottrell, Eric A. Hudson, Kathryn A. Elliget

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human esophageal epithelium obtained from intermediate autopsies (<12 h) was maintained as cell and explant cultures. In order to develop a serum-free, defined media culture model, several medias and additives were evaluated. The viability and differentiation of the epithelial cells cultured with serum-free, Keratinocyte Growth Media (KGM, Clonetics Co., San Diego, CA) was improved over that of esophageal cells and explants cultured in either serum-supplemented CMRL 1066 (OCM), serum-free additive-supplemented CMRL 1066, or cimetidine-supplemented CMRL 1066. The KGM component EGF was determined to be trophic for esophagus cells on the basis of findings of increased 3H-TdR tabelling in KGM cultures when compared to control cells grown in KGM without EGF (KBM). The morphologic pattern of the cytoskeletal proteins actin, keratin, and vimentin were characterized in isolated cell populations. The intermediate filaments, keratin, and vimentin were co-expressed in these epithelial cells. Esophageal explant viability, differentiation, and outgrowth from 15 cases were also evaluated in dishes coated with basement membrane associated proteins. Explants cultured in these dishes were equally well-preserved and differentiated. There were no significant differences in the explant histology when there was protein coating of the culture dishes, although one case showed improved outgrowth with laminin coating. A main advantage for using this culture system is that the same medium (KGM) can be used for both the culture of explants and isolated epithelial cells. Future applications of this model include determining: (1) the effect different concentrations of EGF and calcium in the media will have on esophageal proliferation and differentiation, and (2) the role of different basement membrane associated proteins on the plating efficiency of either isolated or outgrowth epithelial esophageal cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • epithelium
  • esophagus
  • organ culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term culture of human esophageal explants and cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this