A neoplastic connective tissue mast cell from a dog mast cell sarcoma has been grown in tissue culture for 50 passages over a period of 2 years. The cells were grown as monolayer cultures in glass bottles, using Eagle's basal medium fortified with calf serum. The cultures were contaminated with an Alkaligenes sp. for 10 months but finally were sterilized bacteriologically by treatment with specific antiserum combined with antibiotics.
The cells grow in a fibroblastic pattern, and contain mitochondria, mast cell granules, and lipid granules or droplets. The mast cell granules stain basophilic with Giemsa's stain and metachromatically with azure A or toluidine blue. They also stain with Sudan black B and with periodic acid-Schiff stain. The interphase nuclei are vesicular, contain from 1 to 20 nucleoli, and frequently show bizarre outlines. Multinucleate cells are often seen, as are mitotic figures. Extracellular fibrous material occurs in all cultures and apparently originates from the cell surface. This material does not have the structure of connective tissue fibers and has not been identified.
The cells develop an increased number of metachromatic granules when grown in medium containing heparin and an increased number of sudanophilic granules when grown in medium containing stearic acid. Only small amounts of histamine were present in the tumor from which this cell line was derived and in the cells grown in tissue culture.