Gall bladder epithelial cells serve numerous biological functions and abnormalities in their function are important in the pathogenesis of several gall bladder diseases. Direct studies on cell function are rare due to lack of reliable methods to culture this epithelium. This study reports a reliable and reproducible method of harvesting and culturing gall bladder epithelial cells. Normal bovine gall bladder epithelium, obtained within 20 minutes of slaughter, was rinsed with modified Hanks's balanced salt solution, the mucosa separated and incubated in trypsin--EDTA solution at 37 degrees C. The cells were isolated and resuspended in Dulbeco's modification of Eagles' medium containing 10% fetal calf serum and, after filtration and centrifugation, were plated under aseptic conditions. The growth rate was established by flow cytometry and the morphological characteristics of the growing cells by electron microscopy. Gall bladder epithelial cells grew successfully and visible clusters of cells were present by day two, confluency being reached at 8 to 10 days in collagen coated plates and 12 to 14 days in uncoated plates. Electron microscopy showed typical gall bladder epithelia with microvilli, tight junctions, and mucus droplets. This method proved reliable and reproducible for the culture of gall bladder epithelial cells and should allow direct studies of the biological properties of these cells in human tissue.
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