Profiling human breast epithelial cells using single cell RNA sequencing identif

Posted by kiko on November 27th, 2018

Researchers at the UC Irvine Medical School, in collaboration with scientists at the UC San Francisco and Northwestern University, dissected human breast epithelial cells and identified three epithelial cell populations. The discovery of these new cells helps redefine the origin of breast cancer, improve early cancer detection, slow cancer progression, and possibly even prevent cancer.

   The article was published in Nature Communications and was led by Dr. Kai Kessenbrock, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and biomedical researcher.

In this study, the researchers utilized a next-generation sequencing technology combined with single cell RNA sequencing (Single cell RNA seq) to create a high-resolution molecular screening of human breast epithelial cells. Single-cell RNAseq technology has led to the discovery of cellular differences that have not been previously discovered.

Breast cancer arises from the breast epithelium. Breast cancer arises from genetic variation of breast epithelial cells. Genetic changes cause cancer cells of the breast tissue to produce canceration. Understanding the early origin of breast cancer has the potential to be transformed into an early diagnosis method for cancer, and to build a first line of defense against cancer before the disease threatens life.

"We are still ignorant of the full spectrum of human cell diversity, especially the knowledge of the blind spots in different types of human breast epithelial cell types that prevent us from studying the role of different cells in the development and progression of cancer. Three newly discovered epithelium cell group fills a portion of the knowledge loophole that will help us understand the development of the breast cancer system," Kessenbrock said.

The mammary epithelium consists of two major types of cells: secretory luminal cells located in the inner layer and basal myoepithelial cells located in the outer layer. UCI researchers analyzed single-cell genetic fingerprints from seven individuals (25,790 cells in total), and unbiased cluster analysis identified three different epithelial cell populations: one basal cell and two luminal cells. The luminal cells can be distinguished into L1 type and L2 type, L1 type is secretory cells, and L2 type plays a hormone sensitive element function in breast tissue.

These different subsets of breast epithelial cells can serve as a starting point for re-establishing the origin of different subtypes of breast cancer.

Modern technology provides unprecedented insight into the diverse cell populations found in normal human mammary epithelial cells. This information translates into valuable resources to help us understand the early stages of breast cancer and the systemic changes in disease progression. ," a scientist said.

Kessenbrock and UCI researchers Dr. Devon Lawson and Dr. Nicholas Navin are using a similar approach to comprehensively depict all cell types in human tissue, and their research is part of an international Human Cell Atlas project funded by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative.

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