In vitro three-dimensional modelling of human ovarian surface epithelial cells

K. Lawrenson, E. Benjamin, M. Turmaine, I. Jacobs, S. Gayther, D. Dafou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives: Ninety percent of malignant ovarian cancers are epithelial and thought to arise from the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE). We hypothesized that biological characteristics of primary OSE cells would more closely resemble OSE in vivo if established as three-dimensional (3D) cultures. Materials and methods: OSE cells were cultured as multicellular spheroids (MCS) (i) in a rotary cell culture system (RCCS) and (ii) on polyHEMA-coated plastics. The MCSs were examined by electron microscopy and compared to OSE from primary tissues and cells grown in 2D. Annexin V FACS analysis was used to evaluate apoptosis and expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins was analysed by immunohistochemical staining. Results: On polyHEMA-coated plates, OSE spheroids had defined internal architecture. RCCS MCSs had disorganized structure and higher proportion of apoptotic cells than polyHEMA MCSs and the same cells grown in 2D culture. In 2D, widespread expression of AE1/AE3, laminin and vimentin were undetectable by immunohistochemistry, whereas strong expression of these proteins was observed in the same cells grown in 3D culture and in OSE on primary tissues. Conclusions: Physiological and biological features of OSE cells grown in 3D culture more closely resemble characteristics of OSE cells in vivo than when grown by classical 2D approaches. It is likely that establishing in vitro 3D OSE models will lead to greater understanding of the mechanisms of neoplastic transformation in epithelial ovarian cancers. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-393
    Number of pages8
    JournalCell Proliferation
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


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