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intro_animal_cell_culture - Introduction to Animal Cell...

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John A. Ryan, Ph.D. Corning Incorporated Life Sciences 900 Chelmsford St. Lowell, MA 01851 Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 What is Cell and Tissue Culture? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 How are Cell Cultures Obtained? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 What Are Cultured Cells Like? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 What Are Some of the Problems Faced by Cultured Cells? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 How to Decide if Cultured Cells Are “Happy”? . . . . . . . 6 What is Cell Culture Used For? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Introduction Cell culture has become one of the major tools used in the life sciences today. This guide is designed to serve as a basic introduction to animal cell culture. It is appropriate for lab- oratory workers who are using it for the first time, as well as for those who interact with cell culture researchers and who want a better understanding of the key concepts and termi- nology in this interesting and rapidly growing field. What is Cell and Tissue Culture? Tissue Culture is the general term for the removal of cells, tissues, or organs from an animal or plant and their subse- quent placement into an artificial environment conducive to growth. This environment usually consists of a suitable glass or plastic culture vessel containing a liquid or semi- solid medium that supplies the nutrients essential for sur- vival and growth. The culture of whole organs or intact organ fragments with the intent of studying their continued function or development is called Organ Culture . When the cells are removed from the organ fragments prior to, or during cultivation, thus disrupting their normal relation- ships with neighboring cells, it is called Cell Culture . Although animal cell culture was first successfully undertak- en by Ross Harrison in 1907, it was not until the late 1940’s to early 1950’s that several developments occurred that made cell culture widely available as a tool for scientists. First, there was the development of antibiotics that made it easier to avoid many of the contamination problems that plagued earlier cell culture attempts. Second was the development of Introduction to Animal Cell Culture Technical Bulletin
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2 the techniques, such as the use of trypsin to remove cells from culture vessels, necessary to obtain continuously growing cell lines (such as HeLa cells). Third, using these cell lines, scientists were able to develop standardized, chemically defined culture media that made it far easier to grow cells. These three areas combined to allow many more scientists to use cell, tissue and organ culture in their research. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, commercialization of this technology had further impact on cell culture that continues to this day. Companies, such as Corning, began to develop and sell disposable plastic and glass cell culture products, improved filtration products and mate- rials, liquid and powdered tissue culture media, and laminar flow hoods. The overall result of these and other continuing technological developments has been a widespread increase in the number of laboratories and industries using cell culture today.
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