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Quantitative comparison of the spreading and invasion of radial growth phase and metastatic melanoma cells in a three-dimensional human skin equivalent model

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      Abstract

      Background

      Standard two-dimensional (2D) cell migration assays do not provide information about vertical invasion processes, which are critical for melanoma progression. We provide information about three-dimensional (3D) melanoma cell migration, proliferation and invasion in a 3D melanoma skin equivalent (MSE) model. In particular, we pay careful attention to compare the structure of the tissues in the MSE with similarly-prepared 3D human skin equivalent (HSE) models. The HSE model is identically prepared to the MSE model except that melanoma cells are omitted. Using the MSE model, we examine melanoma migration, proliferation and invasion from two different human melanoma cell lines. One cell line, WM35, is associated with the early phase of the disease where spreading is thought to be confined to the epidermis. The other cell line, SK-MEL-28, is associated with the later phase of the disease where spreading into the dermis is expected.

      Methods

      3D MSE and HSE models are constructed using human de-epidermised dermis (DED) prepared from skin tissue. Primary fibroblasts and primary keratinocytes are used in the MSE and HSE models to ensure the formation of a stratified epidermis, with a well-defined basement membrane. Radial spreading of cells across the surface of the HSE and MSE models is observed. Vertical invasion of melanoma cells downward through the skin is observed and measured using immunohistochemistry. All measurements of invasion are made at day 0, 9, 15 and 20, providing detailed time course data.

      Results

      Both HSE and MSE models are similar to native skin in vivo, with a well-defined stratification of the epidermis that is separated from the dermis by a basement membrane. In the HSE and MSE we find fibroblast cells confined to the dermis, and differentiated keratinocytes in the epidermis. In the MSE, melanoma cells form colonies in the epidermis during the early part of the experiment. In the later stage of the experiment, the melanoma cells in the MSE invade deeper into the tissues. Interestingly, both the WM35 and SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells lead to a breakdown of the basement membrane and eventually enter the dermis. However, these two cell lines invade at different rates, with the SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells invading faster than the WM35 cells.

      Discussion

      The MSE and HSE models are a reliable platform for studying melanoma invasion in a 3D tissue that is similar to native human skin. Interestingly, we find that the WM35 cell line, that is thought to be associated with radial spreading only, is able to invade into the dermis. The vertical invasion of melanoma cells into the dermal region appears to be associated with a localised disruption of the basement membrane. Presenting our results in terms of time course data, along with images and quantitative measurements of the depth of invasion extends previous 3D work that has often been reported without these details.

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      Most cited references 84

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      The hallmarks of cancer.

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          Serial cultivation of strains of human epidermal keratinocytes: the formation of keratinizing colonies from single cells.

          Human diploid epidermis epidermal cells have been successfully grown in serial culture. To initiate colony formation, they require the presence of fibroblasts, but proliferation of fibroblasts must be controlled so that the epidermal cell population is not overgrown. Both conditions can be achieved by the use of lethally irradiated 3T3 cells at the correct density. When trypsinized human skin cells are plated together with the 3T3 cells, the growth of the human fibroblasts is largely suppressed, but epidermal cells grow from single cells into colonies. Each colony consists of keratinocytes ultimately forming a stratified squamous epithelium in which the dividing cells are confined to the lowest layer(s). Hydrocortisone is added to the medium, since in secondary and subsequent subcultures it makes the colony morphology more oderly and distinctive, and maintains proliferation at a slightly greater rate. Under these culture conditions, it is possible to isolate keratinocyte clones free of viable fibroblasts. Like human diploid fibroblasts, human diploid keratinocytes appear to have a finite culture lifetime. For 7 strains studied, the culture lifetime ranged from 20-50 cell generations. The plating efficiency of the epidermal cells taken directly from skin was usually 0.1-1.0%. On subsequent transfer of the cultures initiated from newborns, the plating efficiency rose to 10% or higher, but was most often in the range of 1-5% and dropped sharply toward the end of their culture life. The plating efficiency and culture lifetime were lower for keratinocytes of older persons.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
            [2 ]School of Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
            Contributors
            Journal
            PeerJ
            PeerJ
            peerj
            peerj
            PeerJ
            PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
            2167-8359
            5 September 2017
            2017
            : 5
            5590551 3754 10.7717/peerj.3754
            ©2017 Haridas et al.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

            Funding
            Funded by: Australian Research Council
            Award ID: DP170100474
            This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (DP170100474). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Categories
            Cell Biology
            Oncology
            Histology

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