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Cytogenetic characterization of HB2 epithelial cells from the human breast


HB2 is a cell line originated by subcloning of MTSV1-7 mammary luminal epithelial cells isolated from human milk and immortalization via introduction of the gene encoding simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen. Despite its wide utilization as non-neoplastic counterpart in assays aimed to elucidating various biochemical and genetical aspects of normal and tumoral breast cells, to our knowledge no literature data have so far appeared concerning the chromosomal characterization of the HB2 cells. Here, we report the cytogenetic characterization of the karyotype of HB2 cells, which puts in evidence the occurrence of changes in chromosomal number and structure and the presence of unidentified chromosomal markers in variable amount. Our results do not detract from the utility of HB2 cells in illustrating fundamental aspects of breast cell biology, but rather interject a note of caution into generalizing results obtained with this cell line to other non-immortalized epithelial cell populations from the human breast. Therefore, this work represents a useful resource for all who want to perform appropriate and focused future studies on this cell line and proposes precise indications for a knowledgeable use of HB2 cells.