Growth regulation of cultured human nevus cells
Cells isolated from congenital melanocytic nevi and cultured in vitro have growth characteristics that resemble their premalignant stage in situ. A serum-free, chemically defined medium has been developed that allows continuous growth of established nevus cultures for up to several months. Like primary melanoma cells, nevus cells in high-calcium-containing W489 medium require insulin for growth. In contrast to melanoma cells, nevus cells in serum-free medium require the presence of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which enhanced intracellular levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. In contrast to the requirements of normal human melanocytes from newborn foreskin, congenital nevus cells grow with less dependency on basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Nevus cultures contain bFGF-like activity, and they express bFGF mRNA. Nevic cells of compound nevi also express bFGF mRNA in situ but only in the junctional areas. These results indicate that bFGF plays an important growth regulatory role for nevus cells in vitro and in vivo.