Culture of adult rat lung cells: Benzo(a)pyrene metabolism and mutagenesis

A. Tompa, Robert Langenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A method is described for obtaining and culturing large numbers of lung cells from normal adult male rats. The lungs were perfused in situ to remove blood cells and then perfused via the trachea with a trypsin-collagenase solution to initiate tissue digestion. The tissue was further digested in the enzyme solution and approximately 2×108 viable lung cells were obtained per animal. Primary cultures contained a mixed cell population. Through eight subcultures about 70% of the cell population possessed an epithelial-like morphology, whereas the remaining 30% was fibroblast-like. Three clones of epithelial-like cells were isolated at the fourth subculture. The mass culture lung cells and the epithelial-like clone that was studied retained a normal karyotype and did not grow in soft agar. Both the mass culture cells and the epithelial clone metabolized the lung carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene (BP) to water-soluble products. Furthermore, the mass culture lung cells metabolized BP to intermediate(s) which mutated Chinese hamster V79 cells from ouabain sensitivity to ouabain resistance. These lung cell cultures have potential use in cell transformation, mutation and carcinogen metabolism studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
Number of pages10
JournalIn Vitro
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1979


  • benzo(a)pyrene metabolism
  • Chinese hamster V79 cells
  • lung cell cultures
  • mutagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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