Intra‐ocular transplantation of carcinoid tumours from Mastomys and humans

Ola Nilsson, Anton J. Bilchik, Thomas E. Adrian, Irvin M. Modlin

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Carcinoid tumours from man and Mastomys (Praomys) natalensis produce a variety of peptide hormones. The study of these peptide‐secreting tumours has been difficult because of the small amount of tissue available and because of limitations with present cell culture systems. The aim of this study was to establish an experimental model where carcinoid tumours could be maintained and their hormone secretion studied. The intra‐ocular transplantation technique was chosen for its simplicity and high rate of success. Gastric carcinoid tumours from mastomys (n=4) and human carcinoids (n = 2) (one bronchial and one ileal) were transplanted to the anterior eye chamber of SpragueDawley rats. Pieces of fresh tumour tissue were injected into the anterior eye chamber of rats and allowed to grow for 4–8 weeks. Rats transplanted with human tissue were immunosuppressed by daily injections with cyclosporin A (20 mg/kg). Eye chambers were inspected regularly and plasma from transplanted rats was collected for assay of peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon. Vascularization of transplants occurred within 1–2 days after transplantation in 70–80 per cent of all experiments. Microscopic analysis of transplants demonstrated a rich supply of blood vessels to tumour cells which contained characteristic neurosecretory granules. Transplanted rats had significantly (P<0.05) elevated levels of PYY (44–165 pmol/1) and glucagon (67–162 pmol/l) in plasma as compared with sham‐operated rats (PYY 28–40 pmol/1, glucagon 33–40 pmol/l), indicating that hormone secretion by tumour cells in oculo was maintained. Thus, carcinoid tumours from mastomys and humans can be grown in the anterior eye chamber of rats with preserved endocrine activity. The transplantation model may prove to be useful in the study of tumour cell bioactivity and prediction of therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoid tumours
  • electron microscopy
  • enteroglucagon
  • hormone secretion
  • immunocytochemistry
  • intra‐ocular transplants
  • peptide YY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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