Isolation, Culture, and Differentiation of Mammary Epithelial Stem/Progenitor Cells from Fresh or Ex Vivo Cultured Human Breast Tissue

Guang Chen, Hakim Bouamar, Lu Zhe Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In vivo transplantation is the gold standard method for characterization of stem/progenitor cell self-renewal, tissue regeneration, and tumorigenesis. The method requires an enriched population of stem cells that represent a small fraction of a given tissue. An enriched population of stem/progenitor cells increases the likelihood of engraftment and reduces the number of recipient animals needed for in vivo transplantation. Methods for mammosphere formation by mammary epithelial stem and progenitor cells have been widely adopted for enriching stem/progenitor cells, allowing researchers to study genetic and epigenetic properties, interaction with other cell types, and differentiation and oncogenic transformation. The generation of mammospheres is complex, however, involving many steps and requiring particular skill. Here we describe a detailed mammosphere protocol, including isolation and culture of human primary mammary epithelial stem/progenitor cells and their differentiation and passage in 3D organoid culture. We also describe a protocol for ex vivo culture of fresh human breast tissue for use in assays of clinical treatment. Step-by-step instructions detail tissue handling through passage of the stem/progenitor cell-generated 3D organoids, which can be used to assess the properties, function, and neoplastic transformation of mammary stem/progenitor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere65
JournalCurrent Protocols in Cell Biology
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • mammosphere
  • primary epithelial cells
  • progenitors
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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