Mucin synthesis and secretion by cultured tracheal cells: effects of collagen gel substratum thickness

Cynthia B. Robinson, Reen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated that human tracheobronchial epithelial (TBE) cells synthesize mucin and form mucous granules in culture when they are maintained on a collagen gel (CG) substratum, but not on a plastic tissue culture surface or a thin collagen-coated surface (Wu et al., Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol., 3:467-478; 1990). This observation led us to examine the effects of CG thickness on cell growth and differentiation in primary human/monkey TBE cell cultures. Using the same CG preparation, culture dishes with different thicknesses of CG substratum were prepared. In general, equivalent degrees of cell attachment and proliferation were observed in all cultures maintained on a collagen gel, independent of the thicknesses of CG substratum. However, a greater degree of mucin synthesis and secretion by the cells was observed as the thickness of the CG substratum was increased. Cultures maintained on a thick collagen gel (1 mm) exhibited greater apical membrane complexity, more pseudostratification, and more mucous granules than did cultures maintained on a thin CG substratum. The optimal culture surface for airway mucous cell differentiation contains more than 1-mm thickness of collagen gel substratum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-477
Number of pages9
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • collagen substratum
  • differentiation
  • mucin synthesis
  • respiratory cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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