Apical polarity in human colon carcinoma cell lines

I. Ophir*, E. Cohen, Y. Ben Shaul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The non-polar human adenocarcinoma cells (HT29) when grown as monolayers or aggregates, have no tight junctions and no brush border. When these cells are treated with forskolin (15-100 μM) or cholera toxin (1 nM) intercellular lumina appear between the cells and about 30% of the cells facing the medium or the lumina are fully covered with a brush border. Aggregates embedded in collagen type I and treated with forskolin form a brush border only on cells facing the intercellular lumina. Monolayers of the polar human colon adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2 express spontaneously tight junctions and a brush border in all the cells. When grown in aggregates the inner cells lose their polarity and only the cells facing the medium are polar. This polarity was not found when the aggregates were embedded in collagen gels. Aggregates embedded in collagen and treated with forskolin form bubble-like structures with a single layer of polar cells facing a central lumen. The data indicate that cell polarity is probably controlled by both internal factors such as cAMP and external factors such as cell-cell and cell-substratum molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Caco-2
  • Cell polarity
  • HT29
  • brush border
  • cholera toxin
  • forskolin


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