Preparation of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Murine Mammary Gland

Ian Guest1, Zoran Ilic1, Jun Ma1

1 Department of Translational Medicine, Wadsworth Laboratories, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Toxicology
Unit Number:  Unit 22.3
DOI:  10.1002/0471140856.tx2203s50
Online Posting Date:  November, 2011
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The mammary gland is a complex organ consisting of multiple cell types that undergo extensive remodeling during pregnancy and involution, cyclical changes that suggest the existence of a resident stem cell population that is responsible for remarkable tissue regeneration. The basic functional unit of the mammary gland is the terminal duct lobular unit, which invades the stromal tissue (fat, connective tissue, blood vessels, etc.). Luminal epithelial cells line the ducts while outer myoepithelial cells secrete the basal lamina that separates the mammary gland parenchyma from the mesenchymal cells of the stroma. Within the epithelial cell population of the ducts resides the mammary gland stem cells and it is believed that this population is the origin of the mammary gland cancer stem cells as well. In the mouse, epithelial stem cells can be separated from mesenchymal cells on the basis of CD24, CD44, and CD49f expression. This allows for the determination of both normal and cancer stem cell potential of these two populations and permits investigation into their interaction in tumor development. Curr. Protoc. Toxicol. 50:22.3.1‐22.3.15. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: mammary gland (tumor); cancer stem cell; epithelial; mesenchymal; polyoma middle T antigen transgenic mouse

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Isolation and Flow Cytometric Sorting of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Mammary Gland Tumors of PyVT Mice
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Alternate Method for Mesenchymal Cell Isolation from Bone Marrow
  • Support Protocol 1: Culture of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Cells
  • Support Protocol 2: Cryopreservation of Cells
  • Support Protocol 3: Clearance of Mammary Gland Fat Pad and Transplantation of Cells
  • Support Protocol 4: Ectopic Transplantation of Isolated Cells
  • Reagents and Solutions
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
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Basic Protocol 1: Isolation and Flow Cytometric Sorting of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Mammary Gland Tumors of PyVT Mice

  • Mice: FVB/N‐Tg(MMTV‐PyVT)634Mul/J (PyVT) (Jackson Laboratories, stock no. 002374)
  • CO 2 source
  • 70% (v/v) ethanol (see recipe)
  • Betadine solution
  • Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM; see recipe)
  • 0.25% (w/v) trypsin (see recipe), sterile
  • Fetal bovine serum (FBS; see recipe)
  • Trypan blue solution (see recipe)
  • Staining medium (see recipe): Hank's balanced salt solution with and without 2% heat‐inactivated FBS, cold
  • Antibodies (Biolegend): anti‐CD24‐fluorescein isothiocyanate (cat. no. 101805), anti‐CD44‐Pacific Blue (cat. no. 103019), anti‐CD49f‐AlexaFluor 647 (cat. no. 313609), anti‐CD45‐phycoerythrin (cat. no. 103105), anti‐CD31‐phycoerythrin (cat. no. 102407), anti‐Ter119‐allophycocyanin (cat. no. 116211), anti‐Sca1‐phycoerythrin (cat. no. 108109)
  • Surgical scissors, tweezers, and scalpels
  • Disposable 35‐ and 100‐mm petri dishes
  • Sterile 1‐, 5‐, 10‐, and 25‐ml sterile serological pipets
  • 37°C, CO 2‐regulated tissue culture incubator
  • Sterile 70‐µm cell strainers
  • 15‐ and 50‐ml screw‐capped sterile centrifuge tubes
  • Refrigerated centrifuge
  • Hemacytometer
  • Flow cytometer with sorting capacity (e.g., FACSVantage, Becton Dickinson)

Alternate Protocol 1: Alternate Method for Mesenchymal Cell Isolation from Bone Marrow

  • FVB mice (Jackson Laboratories, stock no. 001800)
  • Red blood cell lysing buffer (Sigma; store 2 years at room temperature)
  • Mesencult complete medium (see recipe)
  • Anti‐CD11b‐FITC (Biolegend, cat. no. 101205)
  • Bone scissors
  • 3‐ml syringes with 25‐G needles
  • Tissue culture flasks (25‐, 75‐, and 175‐ml filter‐top flasks)

Support Protocol 1: Culture of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Cells

  • Isolated and sorted cells (see protocol 1 or protocol 2)
  • Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM; see recipe) or Mesencult complete medium (see recipe)
  • 10% FBS (see recipe)
  • Epidermal growth factor (see recipe)
  • Insulin (see recipe)
  • HBSS (see recipe)
  • 37°C, 5% CO 2 tissue culture incubator
  • Sterile pipets (1‐, 5‐, 10‐, and 25‐ml serological pipettes)
  • Sterile 0.22‐µm membrane filters (Millipore)

Support Protocol 2: Cryopreservation of Cells

  • Epithelial or mesenchymal cells (70% confluent)
  • DMEM medium (see recipe) or Mesencult complete medium (see recipe)
  • Cryopreservation medium (see recipe)
  • Refrigerated centrifuge
  • 1‐ml cryotubes
  • Freezing container (e.g., Mr Frosty, Nalgene)

Support Protocol 3: Clearance of Mammary Gland Fat Pad and Transplantation of Cells

  • FVB mice (must be no older than 3 and 1/2 weeks)
  • Ketamine/xylazine mix (see recipe)
  • 70% ethanol (see recipe)
  • Betadine
  • Prepared cells ready for transplant in PBS (see recipe)
  • Surgical instruments
  • Cauterizer (e.g., Roboz Surgical Instrument, model RS‐320)
  • 25‐ to 50‐µl microsyringes (Hamilton) and 27‐G needles
  • Wound closing clips and applicator (Clay Adams Autoclips)

Support Protocol 4: Ectopic Transplantation of Isolated Cells

  • Mice
  • 70% ethanol
  • Cells
  • 1‐ml syringe and 26‐G, 5/8‐in. needle
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