An in vitro system for the study of tracheal epithelial cells

Peter C. Moller, L. R. Partridge, Robert Cox, V. Péllegrini, David G. Ritchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Enzymatically dissociated hamster tracheal epithelial (HTE) cells were cultured on collagen coated Millicell filters. Within 3-5 days after being placed in culture large numbers of ciliated and mucus cells began to appear. By 1 week the HTE cells closely resembled those seen in vivo, i.e. columnar morphology and organelle polarity. After 4 weeks in vitro the HTE cultures were still able to maintain the polarity and overall columnar morphology found in in vivo tissue. There was, in addition, no apparent degradation of the collagen substrate. Autoradiographic data indicated that there was an initial period of high DNA synthesis during the first 3 days in vitro. This was followed by a second phase in which, by day 6, the amount of DNA synthesis was greatly reduced. Analysis of the numbers of ciliated cells relative to non-ciliated cells demonstrated that between days 5 and 8 there was an increase in the percentage of ciliated cells, suggesting that cellular differentiation (i.e. ciliogenesis) follows cellular proliferation. The results of this study show that when HTE cells are grown on collagen-coated Millicell filters there is a significant improvement in cell growth and morphology yielding cells that are very similar to those present under in vivo conditions. Moreover, since there is no degradation of the collagen substrate, HTE cultures may be suitable for long-term studies of respiratory tract epithelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987


  • Tissue culture
  • ciliogenesis
  • collagen substrate
  • differentiation
  • trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'An in vitro system for the study of tracheal epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this