Heterocellular cultures of pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells grown on laminin-5 supplemented matrix

Brant E. Isakson, Gregory J. Seedorf, Richard L. Lubman, Scott Boitano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The pulmonary alveolar epithelium consists of alveolar type I (AT1) and alveolar type II (AT2) cells. Interactions between these two cell types are necessary for alveolar homeostasis and remodeling. These interactions have been difficult to study in vitro because current cell culture models of the alveolar epithelium do not provide a heterocellular population of AT1 and AT2 cells for an extended period of time in culture. In this study, a new method for obtaining heterocellular cultures of AT1- and AT2-like alveolar epithelial cells maintained for 7 d on a rat tail collagen-fibronectin matrix supplemented with laminin-5 is described. These cultures contain cells that appear by their morphology to be either AT1 cells (larger flattened cells without lamellar bodies) or AT2 cells (smaller cuboidal cells with lamellar bodies). AT1-like cells stain for the type I cell marker aquaporin-5, whereas AT2-like cells stain for the type II cell markers surfactant protein C or prosurfactant protein C. AT1/AT2 cell ratios, cell morphology, and cell phenotype-specific staining patterns seen in 7-d-old heterocellular cultures are similar to those seen in alveoli in situ. This culture system, in which a mixed population of phenotypically distinct alveolar epithelial cells are maintained, may facilitate in vitro studies that are more representative of AT1-AT2 cell interactions that occur in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Alveolar type I cell
  • Alveolar type II cell
  • Alveolus
  • Lung
  • Pneumocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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