Bovine milk may be used as a supplement for the serum-free growth of certain fibroblastic cells in culture. The growth properties of three representative cell types in milk-supplemented medium were examined; fibroblastic cell strains, fibroblastic cell lines, and transformed fibroblasts. Transformed fibroblasts, which included RNA and DNA tumor virus-transformed cells and carcinogen-transformed cells, grew in milk. Instead of growing attached to the culture dishes, as they normally do in serum, transformed fibroblasts grew in milk as large clusters in suspension. In contrast, nontransformed fibroblastic cell strains and cell lines did not grow in milk-supplemented medium. Fibroblasts transformed by a temperature-sensitive transformation mutant of Rous sarcoma virus were temperature-sensitive for growth in milk. The failure of cells to adhere to the substratum in milk-supplemented medium suggested that milk might be deficient in attachment factors for fibroblasts. When the attachment of fibroblastic cells in milk-supplemented medium was facilitated by pretreating culture dishes with fibronectin, (a) transformed cells grew attached rather than in suspension, (b) normal cell lines attached and grew to confluence, and (c) normal cell strains adhered and survived but did not exhibit appreciable cell proliferation.

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