Establishment of a murine epidermal cell line suitable for in vitro and in vivo skin modelling
1 Molecular Oncology Unit, Epithelial Biomedicine Division, Basic Research Department, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Avd. Complutense 22, Madrid 28040, Spain
2 Regenerative Medicine Unit, Epithelial Biomedicine Division, Basic Research Department, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Avd. Complutense 22, Madrid 28040, Spain
BMC Dermatology 2011, 11:9 doi:10.1186/1471-5945-11-9Published: 21 April 2011
Skin diseases are a major health problem. Some of the most severe conditions involve genetic disorders, including cancer. Several of these human diseases have been modelled in genetically modified mice, thus becoming a highly valuable preclinical tool for the treatment of these pathologies. However, development of three-dimensional models of skin using keratinocytes from normal and/or genetically modified mice has been hindered by the difficulty to subculture murine epidermal keratinocytes.
We have generated a murine epidermal cell line by serially passaging keratinocytes isolated from the back skin of adult mice. We have termed this cell line COCA. Cell culture is done in fully defined media and does not require feeder cells or any other coating methods.
COCA retained its capacity to differentiate and stratify in response to increased calcium concentration in the cell culture medium for more than 75 passages. These cells, including late passage, can form epidermis-like structures in three-dimensional in vitro models with a well-preserved pattern of proliferation and differentiation. Furthermore, these cells form epidermis in grafting assays in vivo, and do not develop tumorigenic ability.
We propose that COCA constitutes a good experimental system for in vitro and in vivo skin modelling. Also, cell lines from genetically modified mice of interest in skin biology could be established using the method we have developed. COCA keratinocytes would be a suitable control, within a similar background, when studying the biological implications of these alterations.