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Long-term and residual melanotropin-stimulated tyrosinase activity in S91 melanoma cells is density dependent


Cell density is a factor that affects the capacity of Cloudman S91 melanoma cells to respond to melanotropins in monolayer culture. Continuous exposure of melanoma cells to alpha-melanotropin or its potent analog [Nle4, D-Phe7]-alpha-MSH, resulted in maximal stimulation of tyrosinase after 2 d of treatment, but the magnitude of stimulation decreased thereafter despite the continued presence of the melanotropins. However, when melanoma cells continually exposed to melanotropins were subcultured to an initial low cell density and maintained in contact with alpha-MSH or [Nle4, D-Phe7]-alpha-MSH (long-term culture), tyrosinase activity was rapidly restored and greatly enhanced. Also, when cells were seeded at initial densities ranging from 0.2 to 3.2 X 10(6) cells/flask, and exposed for 24 h to 10(-7) M alpha-MSH, only the cultures seeded at low densities (0.2 and 0.4 X 10(6) cells/flask) exhibited maximal tyrosinase activity during the 24 h exposure to the melanotropins. Therefore, tyrosinase activity was primarily affected by cell density rather than by the duration of time the cells were in culture or by continuous exposure to melanotropin. Other flasks of various cell densities were treated with 10(-7) M alpha-MSH or [Nle4, D-Phe7]-alpha-MSH for 24 h, followed by removal of the melanotropins from the culture medium. The magnitude and duration of the residual stimulation of melanoma tyrosinase activity by melanotropins were also found to be dependent on the initial cell density. These results reveal that there is a limited range of optimal cell densities at which melanoma cells can respond to melanotropins and express increased tyrosinase activity.

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