Human mesothelial cells grew rapidly in culture when provided with serum, EGF, and hydrocortisone, adopting a fibroblastoid shape and forming parallel, multilayered arrays at saturation density. In the absence of EGF, the cells grew slowly to a flat, epithelioid monolayer similar to their normal pattern in vivo. Mesothelial cells normally have a high keratin and a low vimentin content in vivo. In culture, rapidly growing cells greatly reduced synthesis and content of their four major keratins to levels undetectable by immunofluorescence in most cells, but keratin synthesis and content returned to high levels whenever growth slowed. Vimentin synthesis and content was high during serial culture, but decreased several-fold in nondividing cells. The unique ability of the mesothelial cell to reversibly alter its morphology and intermediate filament composition is of unknown function and mechanism, but accounts for the morphological heterogeneity and the presence of keratin-negative cells in mesotheliomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)