ACTA HISTOCHEMICA ET CYTOCHEMICA
Online ISSN : 1347-5800
Print ISSN : 0044-5991
ISSN-L : 0044-5991
REGULAR ARTICLE
Reassembly of Anterior Pituitary Organization by Hanging Drop Three-Dimensional Cell Culture
Takehiro TsukadaTom KoukiKen FujiwaraDini RamadhaniKotaro HoriguchiMotoshi KikuchiTakashi Yashiro
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2013 Volume 46 Issue 4 Pages 121-127

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Abstract

The anterior pituitary gland comprises 5 types of hormone-producing cells and non-endocrine cells, such as folliculostellate (FS) cells. The cells form a lobular structure surrounded by extracellular matrix (ECM) but are not randomly distributed in each lobule; hormone-producing cells have affinities for specific cell types (topographic affinity), and FS cells form a homotypic meshwork. To determine whether this cell and ECM organization can be reproduced in vitro, we developed a 3-dimensional (3D) model that utilizes hanging drop cell culture. We found that the topographic affinities of hormone-producing cells were indeed maintained (ie, GH to ACTH cells, GH to TSH cells, PRL to LH/FSH cells). Fine structures in hormone-producing cells retained their normal appearance. In addition, FS cells displayed well-developed cytoplasmic protrusions, which interconnected with adjacent FS cells to form a 3D meshwork. In addition, reassembly of gap junctions and pseudofollicles among FS cells was observed in cell aggregates. Major ECM components—collagens and laminin—were deposited and distributed around the cells. In sum, the dissociated anterior pituitary cells largely maintained their in vivo anterior pituitary architectures. This culture system appears to be a powerful experimental tool for detailed analysis of anterior pituitary cell organization.

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© 2013 The Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
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