University of Oulu

Zhang K., Manninen A. (2019) 3D Cell Culture Models of Epithelial Tissues. In: Vainio S. (eds) Kidney Organogenesis. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 1926. Humana Press, New York, NY.

3D cell culture models of epithelial tissues

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Author: Zhang, Kai1,2; Manninen, Aki2
Organizations: 1Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
2Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Biocenter Oulu, Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Humana Press, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-02-12


Cells in tissues in vivo face a very different microenvironment than typical cultured cells plated on a plastic dish. Already several decades ago, cell biologists observed that cell lines show dramatically different morphology and growth characteristics when embedded into three-dimensional (3D) substrates or standard tissue culture plates (Montesano R, Schaller G, Orci L, Cell. 66:697–711, 1991; Barcellos-Hoff MH, Aggeler J, Ram TG, Bissell MJ, Development. 105:223–235, 1989; Simian M, Bissell MJ, J Cell Biol. 216:31–40, 2017). Despite its imminent benefit for cell biological studies, suspicion and prejudice toward more complicated sample preparation requirements limited the popularity of 3D culture techniques until recently, when it was shown that soft 3D gels made of basement membrane extracts (BME) allow prolonged culture of many types of primary epithelial cells (Clevers H, Cell. 165:1586–1597, 2016; Sato T, Vries RG, Snippert HJ, van de Wetering M, Barker N, Stange DE, et al., Nature. 459:262–265, 2009). These observations have brought 3D organoid culture systems into the mainstream. Here we describe two protocols for culturing epithelial cells in 3D substrates, the “blob culture” setup where cells are fully embedded into BME gel and the “overlay setup” where cells are seeded on top of BME gel and then overlaid with a thin layer of BME (Debnath J, Brugge JS, Nat Rev Cancer. 5:675–688, 2005; Bryant DM, Datta A, Rodriguez-Fraticelli AE, Peranen J, Martin-Belmonte F, Mostov KE, Nat Cell Biol. 12:1035–1045, 2010).

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Series: Methods in molecular biology
ISSN: 1064-3745
ISSN-E: 1940-6029
ISSN-L: 1064-3745
ISBN: 978-1-4939-9021-4
ISBN Print: 978-1-4939-9020-7
Issue: 1926
Pages: 77 - 84
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9021-4_7
Host publication: Kidney Organogenesis. Methods in Molecular Biology
Host publication editor: Vainio, Seppo
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
Funding: This work was funded by the Academy of Finland (251314, 135560, 263770, and 140974/AM).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 251314
Detailed Information: 251314 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
135560 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
263770 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
140974 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Methods in Molecular Biology. The final authenticated version is available online at: