The effects of dibutyryl cyclic 3',5'-adenosine monophosphate (BcAMP) and Sephadex G-25 fractions of chick embryo extract on the growth rate, morphology, and pigmentation of normal chick retinal pigmented epithelium (PE) were investigated. Seven cloned PE cell lines were each grown in modified Ham's F-12 medium alone (F-12), or in F-12 supplemented with either high molecular weight (H) or low molecular weight (L) fractions of chick embryo extract. Cells grown in F-12 alone or in L medium formed compact epithelial sheets, whereas cells grown in H had a fibrocytic appearance and formed poorly organized monolayers. In H plus BcAMP, cell morphology was more epithelioid than in H alone, and generally the monolayers appeared more differentiated. Under each of these three culture conditions, 2 x 10-4 M BCAMP retarded the increase in cell number and decreased the final number of cells per culture dish, but had little effect on plating efficiency. BcAMP also increased the rate of cell adhesion to a plastic substratum. Pigmentation was marked in cultures grown in F-12 or in L alone, but the addition of BcAMP dramatically reduced visible pigmentation. This effect was reversed when BcAMP was removed from the culture medium. Thus BcAMP modifies cell and colonial morphology, rate of cell accumulation, adhesive properties, and pigmentation of normal PE cells.

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