Epithelial Polarity, Villin Expression, and Enterocytic Differentiation of Cultured Human Colon Carcinoma Cells: A Survey of Twenty Cell Lines

Isabelle Chantret, Alain Barbat, Elisabeth Dussaulx, Michael G. Brattain, Alain Zweibaum

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Abstract

Twenty human colon carcinoma cell lines were studied for their ability to develop some of the characteristics of the normal intestinal epithelium, e.g., epithelial polarity, presence of the acdn-binding protein villin, or the occurrence of an enterocytic differentiation either when cultured under standard conditions, as for Caco-2 cells, or when grown in a glucose-free medium, as for HT-29 cells. Except for the regular presence of villin, which can be considered a marker of the colonic origin of the cells, the cell lines of this study could be classified into four types with regard to their differentiation characteristics. In type 1 (only one cell line, i.e., Caco-2) the cells undergo spontaneously an enterocytic differentiation characterized by a polarization of the cell layer with the formation of domes and the presence of an apical brush border the membrane of which is endowed with hydrolases such as sucrase-isomaltase, lactase, aminopeptidase N, dipeptidylpeptidase IV and alkaline phosphatase. In type 2 (three cell lines: HT-29, HCT-EB, and HCT-GEO) the cells are undifferentiated when grown in the presence of glucose but undergo an enterocytic differentiation when grown in the absence of glucose. In type 3 (eight cell lines: HCT-GLY, HCT-FET, HCT-FRI, HCT-CBS, HCT-ALA, Co-115, HRT-18, and SW-1116) the cells are organized into a polarized monolayer with the formation of domes but without any enterocytic differentiation characteristics, whatever the culture conditions. In type 4 (eight cell lines: HCT-116a, HCT-R, HCT-RCA, HCT-Moser, HCT-8R, SW-480, LS-174T, and Vaco-9P) the cells are organized into a multilayer without any feature of epithelial polarity or enterocytic differentiation, whatever the culture conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1936-1942
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Volume48
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1988

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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