A novel pancreatic tumour and stellate cell 3D co-culture spheroid model

K. J. Norberg, X. Liu, C. Fernández Moro, C. Strell, S. Nania, M. Blümel, A. Balboni, B. Bozóky, R. L. Heuchel, J. M. Löhr
2020 BMC Cancer  
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a devastating disease with poor outcome, generally characterized by an excessive stroma component. The purpose of this study was to develop a simple and reproducible in vitro 3D-assay employing the main constituents of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, namely pancreatic stellate and cancer cells. A spheroid assay, directly co-culturing human pancreatic stellate cells with human pancreatic tumour cells in 3D was established and characterized by electron
more » ... opy, immunohistochemistry and real-time RT-PCR. In order to facilitate the cell type-specific crosstalk analysis by real-time RT-PCR, we developed a novel in vitro 3D co-culture model, where the participating cell types were from different species, human and mouse, respectively. Using species-specific PCR primers, we were able to investigate the crosstalk between stromal and cancer cells without previous cell separation and sorting. We found clear evidence for mutual influence, such as increased proliferation and a shift towards a more mesenchymal phenotype in cancer cells and an activation of pancreatic stellate cells towards the myofibroblast phenotype. Using a heterospecies approach, which we coined virtual sorting, confirmed the findings we made initially in the human-human spheroids. We developed and characterized different easy to set up 3D models to investigate the crosstalk between cancer and stroma cells for pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1186/s12885-020-06867-5 pmid:32460715 fatcat:7ot3wa7ybva4vivaupguztkid4