Isolation and Culture of Primary Oral Keratinocytes from the Adult Mouse Palate

J Vis Exp. 2021 Sep 24:(175). doi: 10.3791/62820.


For years, most studies involving keratinocytes have been conducted using human and mouse skin epidermal keratinocytes. Recently, oral keratinocytes have attracted attention because of their unique function and characteristics. They maintain the homeostasis of the oral epithelium and serve as resources for applications in regenerative therapies. However, in vitro studies that use oral primary keratinocytes from adult mice have been limited due to the lack of an efficient and well-established culture protocol. Here, oral primary keratinocytes were isolated from the palate tissues of adult mice and cultured in a commercial low-calcium medium supplemented with a chelexed-serum. Under these conditions, keratinocytes were maintained in a proliferative or stem cell-like state, and their differentiation was inhibited even after increased passages. Marker expression analysis showed that the cultured oral keratinocytes expressed the basal cell markers p63, K14, and α6-integrin and were negative for the differentiation marker K13 and the fibroblast marker PDGFRα. This method produced viable and culturable cells suitable for downstream applications in the study of oral epithelial stem cell functions in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epidermis*
  • Keratinocytes*
  • Mice
  • Palate
  • Stem Cells