Reconstitution of stratified murine and human oesophageal epithelia in an in vivo transplant culture system

Daniel Croagh, Shuli Cheng, Anjali Tikoo, Sanjay Nandurkar, Robert J.S. Thomas, Pritinder Kaur, Wayne A. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. The molecular and cellular events responsible for regulating development of the oesophageal epithelium are not well understood. At least in part, this is due to the lack of a suitable model system with which to study the process. Here, we report development of a manipulable in vivo transplant model for mouse or human oesophageal epithelium. Material and methods. Epithelial cells were isolated from mouse or human oesophagus and inoculated into de-epithelialized and devitalized rat tracheas. The rat trachea, containing cells, was placed subcutaneously under the dorsal skin of immunodeficient mice. Results. We show that a multilayered stratified squamous epithelium can be generated in 4-6 weeks from as few as 5×104 isolated oesophageal epithelial cells. The reconstituted epithelium recapitulates many of the structural and histological features of the normal oesophageal epithelium, including a basal layer of cuboidal-like cells, suprabasal layers of differentiating squamous cells and, in the case of murine cells, a superficial layer of cornified material. Conclusion. Our model can be used to generate a multilayered normal murine or human epithelium from a single cell suspension of oesophageal epithelial cells. The ability to genetically manipulate the cells prior to growth in the model is a powerful tool with which to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of normal oesophagus or in pathogenic processes such as Barrett's metaplasia or tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1168
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D culture
  • Epithelium
  • Model
  • Multilayered
  • Oesophageal
  • Oesophagus
  • Trachea

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