Primary Myofibroblasts Maintain Short-Term Viability following Submucosal Injection in Syngeneic, Immune-Competent Mice Utilizing Murine Colonoscopy

PLoS One. 2015 May 27;10(5):e0127258. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127258. eCollection 2015.


The myofibroblast is an important stromal cell of the gastrointestinal tract. Current in vitro and in vivo models either do not accurately recreate stromal-epithelial interactions or are not specific to myofibroblasts. We sought to create an animal model that would allow the study of myofibroblast-epithelial interactions. We isolated and cultured colonic myofibroblasts from FVB mice. Cells were α-SMA and vimentin positive but desmin negative on immunoblot analysis. We injected the myofibroblasts into the colonic submucosa of syngeneic adult mice (n = 8) via a miniendoscopic system. We then isolated green fluorescent protein (GFP) positive colonic myofibroblasts from C57BL/6-Tg(CAG-EGFP)1Osb/J mice and injected them into the colonic lamina propria of C57BL/6J mice at 1x10(5) (n = 14), 1x10(6) (n = 9), or 5x10(6) cells/mL (n = 4). A subset of mice were injected with serum-free media and ink without cells (n = 3). Mice underwent repeat endoscopy and euthanasia one or 7 days after injection. Colons were isolated and either fixed in 10% formalin or the inked sites were individually excised and lysed for DNA. We assessed the injection sites via histology and immunohistochemical stains for α-SMA and GFP. We used qPCR to quantify GFP DNA transcripts at the lamina propria injection sites. Submucosal injection of myofibroblasts resulted in the formation of a subepithelial wheal on endoscopy, which persisted to day 7. Myofibroblasts injected either into the submucosa or lamina propria maintained viability on post-injection day 7 as evidenced by positive α-SMA staining. qPCR of lamina propria injections showed a dose-dependent increase in GFP DNA transcripts on post-injection day 1, whereas the number of transcripts on day 7 was equivalent for the concentrations injected. We demonstrate short-term survival of primary cultured colonic myofibroblasts in syngeneic mice. This may prove to be a valuable model for studying the role of myofibroblasts in states of health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Immunocompetence*
  • Injections*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myofibroblasts / cytology*
  • Time Factors