A robust cell culture system for large scale feeder cell-free expansion of human breast epithelial progenitors

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Chatterjee, Sumanta
Basak, Pratima
Buchel, Edward
Murphy, Leigh C
Raouf, Afshin
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Abstract Background Normal human breast epithelial cells are maintained by the proliferation and differentiation of different human breast epithelial progenitors (HBEPs). However, these progenitor subsets can only be obtained at low frequencies, limiting their further characterization. Recently, it was reported that HBEPs can be minimally expanded in Matrigel cocultures with stromal feeder cells. However, variability of generating healthy feeder cells significantly impacts the effective expansion of HBEPs. Methods Here, we report a robust feeder cell-free culture system for large-scale expansion of HBEPs in two-dimensional cultures. Results Using this cell culture system HBEPs can be exponentially expanded as bulk cultures. Moreover, purified HBEP subtypes can also be separately expanded using our cell culture system. The expanded HBEPs retain their undifferentiated phenotype and form distinct epithelial colonies in colony forming cell assays. Conclusions The availability of a culture system enabling the large-scale expansion of HBEPs facilitates their application to screening platforms and other cell-based assays.
Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2018 Oct 04;9(1):264