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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Thy-1 antigen on normal and neoplastic rat mammary tissues: changes in location and amount of antigen during differentiation of cultured stem cells.

With the use of immunofluorescent and immunocytochemical techniques on histologic sections of mammary glands from inbred WF rats, the thymocyte differentiation antigen (Thy-1) was identified partially on and immediately adjacent to the myoepithelial cells of ducts and alveoli. This antigen was absent from epithelial cells lining such structures. Some fibroblastic cells external to these structures also bore Thy-1. During glandular development the intensity of fluorescence due to the binding of Thy-1 antibodies increased as the myoepithelial cells matured. Similarly, mammary adenocarcinomas induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and N-methyl-N-nitrosourea contained elongated, presumptive myoepithelial cells that demonstrated varying degrees of Thy-1 immunofluorescence. This phenomenon was qualitatively mimicked by cultured cell lines from normal and DMBA-induced tumors. Elongated myoepithelial-like and fibroblast-like cells possessed Thy-1, whereas the cuboidal epithelial cell lines failed to express this antigen on the cell surface. Measurement of the relative number of Thy-1 molecules per cell by antiserum absorption techniques suggested that a neoplastic stem cell line, rat mammary (Rama) 25, contained about 3 X 10(5) Thy-1 molecules per cell in a form not directly accessible at the cell surface to anti-Thy-1 antibodies; the number of cryptic Thy-1 molecules was reduced when this cell line differentiated to alveolar-like cells in culture. However, when this cell line differentiated to myoepithelial-like cells, approximately 5 X 10(6) molecules per cell were exposed to anti-Thy-1 antibodies with a concomitant reduction of the cryptic pool. Morphologic maturation of elongated, myoepithelial-like cell line variants was also accompanied by increased surface Thy-1 fluorescence. Thus some of the myoepithelial cells in normal glands and tumors may arise by differentiation of epithelial stem cells and a spectrum of maturation states of the myoepithelial cell may exist as monitored by cellular morphology and surface Thy-1 expression.[1]


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