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Monday 01 August 2005

A biomimetic tissue from cultured normal human urothelial cells: analysis of physiological function.

By: Cross WR, Eardley I, Leese HJ, Southgate J.

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2005 Aug;289(2):F459-68

The urinary bladder and associated tract is lined by the urothelium. Once considered as just an impermeable epithelium, it is becoming evident that the urothelium not only functions as a volume-accommodating urinary barrier but has additional roles, including sensory signaling. Lack of access to normal human urothelium has hampered physiological investigation, and although cell culture systems have been developed, there has been a failure to demonstrate that normal human urothelial (NHU) cells grown in vitro retain the capacity to form a functional differentiated urothelium. The aim of this study was to develop a biomimetic human urothelium from NHU cell cultures. Urothelial cells isolated from normal human urothelium and serially propagated as monolayers in serum-free culture were homogeneous and adopted a proliferative, nondifferentiated phenotype. In the presence of serum and physiological concentrations of calcium, these cells could be reproducibly induced to form stratified urothelia consisting of basal, intermediate, and superficial cells, with differential expression of cytokeratins and superficial tight junctions. Functionally, the neotissues showed characteristics of native urothelium, including high transepithelial electrical resistance of >3,000, apical membrane-restricted amiloride-sensitive sodium ion channels, basal expression of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, and low diffusive permeability to urea, water, and dextran. This model represents major progress in developing a biomimetic human urothelial culture model to explore molecular and functional relationships in normal and dysfunctional bladder physiology.

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