In this study, we established a system of high concentration serum-dependent spontaneous apoptosis of guinea pig gastric pit cells in primary culture, which seems to mimic the spontaneous apoptosis of matured gastric pit cells at gastric surface in vivo. In addition to induction of the spontaneous apoptosis, cell growth was inhibited in the presence of 10% serum compared with 0.5% serum. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), which is known to cause both apoptosis and growth inhibition in mammalian cells, was present in serum of both fetal calf and guinea pig. The addition of recombinant TGF-β1 to the culture medium containing 0.5% fetal calf serum caused both induction of apoptosis and inhibition of cell growth. On the other hand, immunodepletion of TGF-β1 from fetal calf serum caused inability to induce both the spontaneous apoptosis and inhibition of cell growth. These data suggest that TGF-β1 is involved in the spontaneous apoptosis of guinea pig gastric pit cells in primary culture.
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