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E A Offord, N A Sharif, K Macé, Y Tromvoukis, E A Spillare, O Avanti, W E Howe, A M Pfeifer; Immortalized human corneal epithelial cells for ocular toxicity and inflammation studies.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(6):1091-1101.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
PURPOSE: To develop a metabolically competent, human immortalized corneal epithelial cell line for use in toxicity and inflammation studies. METHODS: Primary corneal epithelial cells (P-CEPI) were immortalized by a recombinant simian virus (SV)40 T antigen retroviral vector defective for viral replication. The cells were grown in serum-free medium with the addition of bovine pituitary extract, cloned at passage 15 and one of the best-growing clones, CEPI-17-CL4, was extensively characterized for differentiation and metabolic characteristics of the human corneal epithelium. Methods used were immunostaining, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), northern blot analysis, and enzyme assays. RESULTS: The CEPI-17-CL4 cells showed a typical cobblestone morphology, grew to more than 200 passages and expressed the SV40 T antigen in the nucleus of every cell. Immunofluorescence staining for CEPI-17-CL4 cells was strongly positive for keratins (K)8, K18, and K19 and vimentin; weakly positive for K3, K13, and K17; and negative for K4, K7, and K14. Expression of cytokines (interleukin [IL]-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-ra), growth factors (transforming growth factor [TGF]-alpha, epidermal growth factors [EGF], EGF receptor [EGFR], TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2, and platelet-derived growth factor-beta) and cytochrome P450 enzymes (1A1, 2C, 2E1, and 3A5) was similar in CEPI-17-CL4 cells and human corneal epithelial samples obtained in biopsy. The CEPI-17-CL4 cells were metabolically competent for enzymes glutathione S-transferase, quinone reductase, aflatoxin aldehyde reductase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. CONCLUSIONS: The CEPI-17-CL4 cells are truly immortal and express an extensive array of cytokines, growth factors, and metabolic enzymes that resemble the original tissue. These characteristics, which remain stable up to high passage, will allow reproducible, mechanistic studies on toxicity, inflammation, and wound healing.
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