Biological characteristics of primary cultures of human gallbladder epithelial cells

B. J. Hoerl, B. T. Vroman, J. L. Kasperbauer, N. F. LaRusso, R. E. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Epithelial cells of the gallbladder have potential to represent an important model for studies of ductal epithelia in normal and pathological states. We therefore initiated studies to establish human gallbladder epithelial cells (GBEC) in culture. GBEC were isolated by trypsinization of small tissue fragments from human gallbladders obtained at cholecystectomy; cells were plated on tissue culture dishes and grown in defined MCDB 153 medium containing added growth factors. In this medium, GBEC showed a plating efficiency of ~1%; those GBEC that attached formed colonies and proliferated, as demonstrated by autoradiographic analysis of [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA. Cultured GBEC expressed two markers found on GBEC in situ, i.e., γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and cytokeratin 19. By using various attachment substrates, with and without added serum, increased plating efficiency and better growth were achieved. When type IV collagen was used as substrate and 10% fetal bovine serum was added to MCDB 153, passage of GBEC was possible, and cells proliferated through five to six population doublings. GBEC in culture under all conditions eventually enlarged, showed vacuolization, and demonstrated irreversible growth arrest. Nonetheless, the culture conditions described here allow for preparation of large quantities of highly enriched human GBEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • Cell culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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