Caco-2 and LS174T cell lines provide different models for studying mucin expression in colon cancer

Tissue Cell. 2011 Jun;43(3):201-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


To compare the differences in MUC2 and MUC5AC mRNA among four colon cancer cell lines and to identify the best in vitro models for studying mucin expression, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to measure the expression of MUC2 and MUC5AC mRNA in Caco-2, HT29, LoVo, and LS174T cell lines. The levels of MUC2 mRNA expression in the four colon cancer cell lines ranked in order of mRNA abundance were: LS174T>LoVo>HT-29>Caco-2. In contrast to MUC2, the abundances of MUC5AC mRNA were in the order: Caco-2>HT-29>LS174T>LoVo. Caco-2 (highest level of MUC5AC mRNA) and LS174T (highest level of MUC2 mRNA) were used to investigate the phenotypes. Morphologically, Caco-2 cells were larger with low electron density mucus-storing vacuoles, many cell surface microvilli, and no obvious intercellular spaces between cells, compared to LS174T cells. The proliferative and invasive capacities of LS174T cells were significantly higher than those of Caco-2 cells. Caco-2 and LS174T cells provide excellent in vitro models for studying mucin expression in colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mucin 5AC / biosynthesis*
  • Mucin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • MUC5AC protein, human
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Mucin-2
  • RNA, Messenger