When thyroid follicles are isolated by collagenase treatment of minced thyroid lobes, the basal lamina around each follicle is removed. The basal lamina does not reform when follicles are cultured in suspension in Coon's modified Ham's F-12 medium containing, in addition, 0.5% calf serum, insulin, transferrin, and thyrotropin. We have added acid soluble collagen and/or laminin to see if they would result in the formation of a basal lamina. An extended basal lamina did not form when follicles were embedded in a gel formed from acid-soluble rat tendon collagen or from calf skin collagen when added at a concentration of 100 micrograms collagen/ml. However, laminin at a concentration of 5.1 micrograms/ml gave rise to short segments of a basal lamina within 30 min. At longer time intervals, the segments lengthened and covered the base of many cells, and were continuous across the gap between cells and across the mouth of a coated pit. Not all basal surfaces were covered, and no exposed apical surfaces with microvilli had a basal lamina. There was no obvious difference in the appearance of the basal lamina if collagen was added in addition to laminin, but collagen, in contact with the plasma membrane when added alone, was lifted off the membrane in the presence of the basal lamina. The basal lamina appeared denser if formed in the presence of 5% serum instead of 0.5%.

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