Development of a 3D culture system to study the skeletal metastasis of prostate cancer

Sieh, Shirly (2011) Development of a 3D culture system to study the skeletal metastasis of prostate cancer. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In the cancer research field, most in vitro studies still rely on two-dimensional (2D) cultures. However, the trend is rapidly shifting towards using a three-dimensional (3D) culture system. This is because 3D models better recapitulate the microenvironment of cells, and therefore, yield cellular and molecular responses that more accurately describe the pathophysiology of cancer. By adopting technology platforms established by the tissue engineering discipline, it is now possible to grow cancer cells in extracellular matrix (ECM)-like environments and dictate the biophysical and biochemical properties of the matrix. In addition, 3D models can be modified to recapitulate different stages of cancer progression for instance from the initial development of tumor to metastasis. Inevitably, to recapitulate a heterotypic condition, comprising more than one cell type, it requires a more complex 3D model. To date, 3D models that are available for studying the prostate cancer (CaP)-bone interactions are still lacking. Therefore, the aim of this study is to establish a co-culture model that allows investigation of direct and indirect CaP-bone interactions. Prior to that, 3D polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based hydrogel cultures for CaP cells were first developed and growth conditions were optimised. Characterization of the 3D hydrogel cultures show that LNCaP cells form a multicellular mass that resembles avascular tumor. In comparison to 2D cultures, besides the difference in cell morphology, the response of LNCaP cells to the androgen analogue (R1881) stimulation is different compared to the cells in 2D cultures. This discrepancy between 2D and 3D cultures is likely associated with the cell-cell contact, density and ligand-receptor interactions. Following the 3D monoculture study, a 3D direct co-culture model of CaP cells and the human tissue engineered bone (hTEBC) construct was developed. Interactions between the CaP cells and human osteoblasts (hOBs) resulted in elevation of Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) for PC-3 cells and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) for LNCaP cells. To further investigate the paracrine interaction of CaP cells and (hOBs), a 3D indirect co-culture model was developed, where LNCaP cells embedded within PEG hydrogels were co-cultured with hTEBC. It was found that the cellular changes observed reflect the early event of CaP colonizing the bone site. In the absence of androgens, interestingly, up-regulation of PSA and other kallikreins is also detected in the co-culture compared to the LNCaP monoculture. This non androgenic stimulation could be triggered by the soluble factors secreted by the hOB such as Interleukin-6. There are also decrease in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and down-regulation of genes of the hOB when co-cultured with LNCaP cells that have not been previously described. These genes include transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1), osteocalcin and Vimentin. However, no changes to epithelial markers (e.g E-cadherin, Cytokeratin 8) were observed in both cell types from the co-culture. Some of these intriguing changes observed in the co-cultures that had not been previously described have enriched the basic knowledge of the CaP cell-bone interaction. From this study, we have shown evidence of the feasibility and versatility of our established 3D models. These models can be adapted to test various hypotheses for studies pertaining to underlying mechanisms of bone metastasis and could provide a vehicle for anticancer drug screening purposes in the future.

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ID Code: 50870
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hutmacher, Dietmar, Clements, Judith, & Nelson, Colleen
Keywords: 3D model, 3D culture, hydrogel, matrix, tissue engineering, prostate cancer, LNCaP, human osteoblast, bone metastasis, co-culture
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 13 Jun 2012 01:42
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:46

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