In situ preparation of rat tracheal basal cells

Michael J. Evans, Ann S. Burke, Robert A. Cox, Qingyan Zhu, Peter C. Moller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The primary function of basal cells is to attach columnar epithelium to the basal lamina. They may also have limited stem cell potential, but very little is known of other biological functions. Basal cells lie on the basal lamina beneath the ciliated and secretory cells and do not reach the surface of the epithelium. The position of the cell beneath the ciliated and secretory cell epithelium makes their in situ study difficult. In order to further aid in the study of basal cells, we have developed an in situ preparation technique in which ciliated and secretory cells are removed. Treatment of rat tracheas with a 20 mM Na2 EDTA solution, pH 7.4, results in partial removal of columnar epithelium from the basal lamina. The percent of denuded columnar epithelial cells per mm of basal lamina is 43.9 ± 7.8% at 60 min, 47.6 ± 8.4% at 90 min, and 52.6 ± 2.7% at 120 min. The viability of the exposed basal cells was the same at both 60 and 90 min of treatment (79.4 ± 7.8 and 78.0 ± 8.5, respectively). Morphologically, the exposed basal cells are attached to the basal lamina by hemidesmosomes and are similar to those in the intact animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-644
Number of pages6
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1993


  • Basal cells
  • attachment
  • basal lamina
  • in situ preparation
  • trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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