A model for epithelial growth and epithelium-connective tissue interaction studies.
The aim of this study was to evaluate implanted ectocervical biopsy material as a model for morphological studies of normal and abnormal epithelial growth and epithelial-connective tissue interactions. Forty-five specimens were implanted in the flanks of nude (immunodeficient) mice and harvested at 1, 2, 3 and 6 weeks. Superficial necrosis of the epithelial layer with retention of parts of the basal cell layer were evident at 1 and 2 weeks. At 2 weeks granulation tissue enclosed the bases of the implants. Regrowth of epithelium on the surfaces and from the edges of the specimens was seen at 3 weeks. At 6 weeks the specimens were revascularized and the majority coated with a well developed unkeratinized stratified squamous epithelial layer resembling the epithelium of the ectocervix. It is concluded that specimens of human ectocervix, implanted in nude mice, offer the possibility for morphological studies of normal and abnormal epithelial growth and, if experimental difficulties can be overcome, of the epithelial-connective tissue interactions.