An in vitro three-dimensional co-culture system for ameloblastoma modelling

Soo Leng Lee, Zainal Ariff Abdul Rahman, Hidetsugu Tsujigiwa, Mei Hamada, Kiyofumi Takabatake, Keisuke Nakano, Hitoshi Nagatsuka, Chong Huat Siar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ameloblastoma, the most clinically significant odontogenic epithelial tumor, is a locally-invasive and destructive lesion in the jawbones. However, the nature of this infiltrativeness and destructive behavior remains ill-understood. To address this, we established an in vitro three-dimensional (3D) co-culture system to simulate an amelobastoma disease model aimed at investigating the interactions between tumor cells and osteoblasts. Osteoblastic cell lines (KUSA/A1 and MC3T3-E1) and one stromal cell line (ST2) were separately co-seeded with ameloblastoma-derived cell line (AM-1) in a collagen scaffold (representing the extracellular bone matrix) and incubated with mineralization medium. Immunohistochemistry, double immunofluorescence and mineralization assay were performed. Only AM-1/KUSA-A1 co-culture showed a significant increase in AM-1 cell count, suggesting that heterotypic cell-cell interaction promotes tumoral cell growth, while formation of visible AM-1 epithelial nest-like structures resembling ameloblastoma cells in their native state, suggest morphodifferentiation. A RANK-high, RANKL-low and osteoprotegerin-low immunoprofile in co-culture AM-1 cells implies deregulated osteoclastogenesis. Mineralization assays showed diminished calcification in AM-1/KUSA-A1 co-culture extracellular matrix suggesting an altered local bone metabolism. In contrast, KUSA/A1 monocultures showed abundant extracellular matrix calcification. Taken together, these results suggest that a 3D co-culture system as an amelobastoma disease model provides insights that bidirectional ameloblastoma-osteoblastic interactions might play a role in modulating tumor growth and osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1697-1706
Number of pages10
JournalSains Malaysiana
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ameloblast
  • Ameloblastoma modelling
  • Co-culture system
  • Pre-osteoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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