In most vertebrates, the liver produces bile that is necessary to emulsify absorbed fats and enable the digestion of lipids in the small intestine as well as to excrete bilirubin and other metabolic products. In the liver, the experimental obstruction of the extrahepatic biliary system initiates a complex cascade of pathological events that leads to cholestasis and inflammation resulting in a strong fibrotic reaction originating from the periportal fields. Therefore, surgical ligation of the common bile duct has become the most commonly used model to induce obstructive cholestatic injury in rodents and to study the molecular and cellular events that underlie these pathophysiological mechanisms induced by inappropriate bile flow. In recent years, different surgical techniques have been described that either allow reconnection or reanastomosis after bile duct ligation (BDL), e.g., partial BDL, or other microsurgical methods for specific research questions. However, the most frequently used model is the complete obstruction of the common bile duct that induces a strong fibrotic response after 21 to 28 days. The mortality rate can be high due to infectious complications or technical inaccuracies. Here we provide a detailed surgical procedure for the BDL model in mice that induce a highly reproducible fibrotic response in accordance to the 3R rule for animal welfare postulated by Russel and Burch in 1959.
Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are important angiogenic growth factors. While basic FGF (FGF2) is well established as a potent inducer of angiogenesis much less is known about other FGFs possibly expressed by EC. We investigated the expression of all known FGFs, their main tyrosine kinase receptors and antagonists by RT-PCR analysis in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) to obtain a complete expression profile of this important growth factor system in model endothelial cells (EC). In addition to FGFR1IIIc, which is considered as the major FGF receptor in EC, HUVECs express similar levels of FGFR3IIIc, detectable amounts of FGFR2IIIc and a new FGF receptor without an intracellular kinase domain (FGFR5). HUVECs express several secreted FGFs, including FGF5, 7, 8, 16 and 18 and two members of the fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs), not yet reported to be expressed in EC. The expression panel was compared with that obtained from human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and human aortic tissue. Human umbilical artery smooth muscle cells (HUASMCs) and HUVECs express the identical FGF receptor and ligand panel implicating that both cell types act, according the FGF signals more as an entity than as individual cell types. Expression of Fgf1, 2, 7, 16 and 18 and the antagonists Sprouty 2,3 and 4 was demonstrated for all analysed cDNAs. The IIIc isoforms of FGFR1 and 2 and the novel FGFR5 were expressed in the aorta, but expression of the FGF receptor 3 was not detected in cDNAs derived from aortic tissue. In the VSMC of rat aortic tissue and in HUASM cultured cells we could demonstrate FGF18 immunoreactivity in the nucleus of the cells. The expression of several secreted FGFs by EC may focus the view more on their paracrine effects on neighbouring cells during tissue regeneration or tumor formation.
Parietal epithelial cells (PECs) are crucially involved in the pathogenesis of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) as well as in focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). In this study, transgenic mouse lines were used to isolate pure, genetically tagged primary cultures of PECs or podocytes using FACsorting. By this approach, the morphology of primary glomerular epithelial cells in culture could be resolved: Primary podocytes formed either large cells with intracytoplasmatic extensions or smaller spindle shaped cells, depending on specific culture conditions. Primary PECs were small and exhibited a spindle-shaped or polygonal morphology. In the very early phases of primary culture, rapid changes in gene expression (e.g. of WT-1 and Pax-2) were observed. However, after prolonged culture primary PECs and podocytes still segregated clearly in a transcriptome analysis - demonstrating that the origin of primary cell cultures is important. Of the classical markers, synaptopodin and podoplanin expression were differentially regulated the most in primary PEC and podocyte cultures. However, no expression of any endogenous gene allowed to differentiate between the two cell types in culture. Finally, we show that the transcription factor WT1 is also expressed by PECs. In summary, genetic tagging of PECs and podocytes is a novel and necessary tool to derive pure primary cultures with proven origin. These cultures will be a powerful tool for the emerging field of parietal epithelial cell biology.
Mast cells (MCs) are a versatile cell type playing key roles in tissue morphogenesis and host defence against bacteria and parasites. Furthermore, they can enhance immunological danger signals and are implicated in inflammatory disorders like fibrosis. This granulated cell type originates from the myeloid lineage and has similarities to basophilic granulocytes, both containing large quantities of histamine and heparin. Immature murine mast cells mature in their destination tissue and adopt either the connective tissue (CTMC) or mucosal (MMC) type. Some effector functions are executed by activation/degranulation of MCs which lead to secretion of a typical set of MC proteases (MCPT) and of the preformed or newly synthesized mediators from its granules into the local microenvironment. Due to the potential accumulation of mutations in key signalling pathway components of corresponding MC cell-lines, primary cultured MCs are an attractive mean to study general features of MC biology and aspects of MC functions relevant to human disease. Here, we describe a simple protocol for the simultaneous isolation of mature CTMC-like murine MCs from the peritoneum (PMCs) and immature MC precursors from the bone marrow (BM). The latter are differentiated in vitro to yield BM-derived MCs (BMMC). These cells display the typical morphological and phenotypic features of MCs, express the typical MC surface markers, and can be propagated and kept in culture for several weeks. The provided protocol allows simple amplification of large quantities of homogenous, non-transformed MCs from the peritoneum and bone marrow-derived mast cells for cell- and tissue-based biomedical research.
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