Summary. Mouse uterine cells were obtained by trypsinization of uteri at timed intervals after the induction of a decidual reaction by intraluminal instillation of arachis oil on Day 4 of normal pregnancy. Cells were also obtained from ovariectomized mouse uteri, some of which had received a progesterone–oestradiol sequence to sensitize the uterus to a decidual stimulus. The differentiation of decidual cells was followed in cultures of these cells. The morphology of the cells obtained after 6 days in culture was dependent upon the seeding density employed. At low seeding density (plating densities of 75–100 cells/mm2) no net increase in cell number was observed, but large mononucleated stellate cells were present, with cytoplasmic and nuclear areas increased by 4-fold. At higher seeding densities (plating densities of up to 709 cells/mm2), a prolongation of cell survival and the appearance of substantial numbers of binucleated cells were observed. However, both cell types were characterized by the accumulation of filamentous material in the cytoplasm. Even at optimal seeding density the life-span of the decidualized cells could not be prolonged beyond 9 days. Uterine cells from hormone-treated ovariectomized animals underwent similar transformations but those from untreated ovariectomized mice gave only isolated islets of epithelial cells and scattered fibroblast-like cells in culture. These observations suggest that discrepancies in previous reports of in-vitro decidualization of rat uterine cells result from differences in the seeding densities employed.
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