A new pipeline for pathophysiological analysis of the mammary gland based on organoid transplantation and organ clearing

J Cell Sci. 2020 Jun 23;133(12):jcs242495. doi: 10.1242/jcs.242495.


Recent developments in techniques for tissue clearing and size reduction have enabled optical imaging of whole organs and the study of rare tumorigenic events in vivo The adult mammary gland provides a unique model for investigating physiological or pathological processes such as morphogenesis or epithelial cell dissemination. Here, we establish a new pipeline to study rare cellular events occurring in the mammary gland, by combining orthotopic transplantation of mammary organoids with the uDISCO organ size reduction and clearing method. This strategy allows us to analyze the behavior of individually labeled cells in regenerated mammary gland. As a proof of concept, we analyzed the localization of rare epithelial cells overexpressing atypical protein kinase C iota (also known as PRKCI, referred to here as aPKCι) with an N-terminal eGFP fusion (GFP-aPKCι+) in the normal mammary gland. Using this analytical pipeline, we were able to visualize epithelial aPKCι+ cells escaping from the normal mammary epithelium and disseminating into the surrounding stroma. This technical resource should benefit mammary development and tumor progression studies.

Keywords: Atypical PKCι; Cell dissemination; Mammary gland; Organoid transplantation; Tissue clearing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Animal
  • Mammary Glands, Human*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Organoids*