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Characteristics of primary and immortalized fibroblast cells derived from the miniature and domestic pigs

Ho-Yeon Oh1, Xun Jin12, Jong-Geun Kim1, Myung-Joo Oh1, Xumin Pian1, Jun-Mo Kim1, Moon-Seok Yoon3, Chae-Ik Son3, Young Sik Lee1, Ki-Chang Hong1, Hyunggee Kim1, Yun-Jaie Choi2 and Kwang Youn Whang1*

Author affiliations

1 Division of Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, Korea

2 Division of Animal Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

3 National Veterinary and Quarantine Service, Incheon, Korea

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2007, 8:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-20

Published: 1 June 2007



The pig, Sus scrofa domestica includes both the miniature and commercial domestic breed. These animals have influenced the human life and economies and have been studied throughout history. Although the miniature breeds are more recent and have increasingly been used in a variety of biomedical studies, their cell lines have rarely been established. Therefore, we sought to establish primary and immortal cell lines derived from both the miniature and domestic pig to better enable insight into possible in vivo growth differences.


The in vitro lifespan of primary domestic pig fibroblast (PF) and miniature pig fibroblast (MPF) cells using a standard 3T3 protocol was determined. Both of the primary PF and MPF cells were shown to have a two-step replicative senescence barrier. Primary MPF cells exhibited a relatively shorter lifespan and slower proliferation rate compared to those of primary PF cells. Beyond senescence barriers, lifespan-extended PF and MPF cells were eventually established and indicated spontaneous cellular immortalization. In contrast to the immortalized PF cells, immortal MPF cells showed a transformed phenotype and possessed more frequent chromosomal abnormalities and loss of p53 regulatory function. The lifespan of primary MPF and PF cells was extended by inactivation of the p53 function using transduction by SV40LT without any detectable senescent phenotype.


These results suggest that p53 signaling might be a major determinant for the replicative senescence in the MPF cells that have the shorter lifespan and slower growth rate compared to PF cells in vitro.