Occurs when the cells are microscopically examined

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Unformatted text preview: r or unusual patterns of cell attachment or growth are observed. When problems are suspected, staining the culture vessels with crystal violet or other simple histological stains may show growth patterns indicating a problem. These growth problems are discussed in detail in the Corning Technical Bulletin: General Guide for Identifying and Correcting Common Cell Culture Growth and Attachment Problems (Ref. 8). Cell counting and other methods for estimating cell number, on the other hand, allow the determination of the Growth Rate, which is sensitive to major changes in the culture environment. This allows the design of experiments to determine which set of conditions (culture media, substrate, serum, plasticware) is better for the cells, i.e., the conditions producing the best growth rate. These same or similar techniques can also be used to measure cell survival or death and are often used for in vitro cytotoxicity assays. Plating Efficiency is a testing method where small numbers of cells (20 to 200) are placed in a culture vessel and the number of colonies they form is measured. The percentage of cells forming colonies is a measure of survival, while the colony size is a measure of growth rate. This testing method is similar in application to growth rate analysis but is more sensitive to small variations in culture conditions. The final characteristic, the Expression of Specialized Functions, is usually the most difficult to observe and measure. Usually biochemical or immunological assays and tests are used. While cultured cells may grow very well in subobtimal conditions, highly specialized functions usually require near perfect culture conditions and are often quickly lost when cells are placed in culture. A colony of fixed and stained human fibroblast cells What is Cell Culture Used For? Cell culture has become one of the major tools used in cell and molecular biology. Some of the important areas where cell culture is currently playing a major role are briefly described below: Model Systems Cell cultures provide a good model system for studying 1) basic cell biology and biochemistry, 2) the interactions between disease-causing agents and cells, 3) the effects of drugs on cells, 4) the process and triggers for aging, and 5) nutritional studies. Toxicity Testing Cultured cells are widely used alone or in conjunction with animal tests to study the effects of new drugs, cosmetics and chemicals on survival and growth in a wide variety of cell types. Especially important are liver- and kidney-derived cell cultures. Cancer Research HTS Transwell®-24 plates are used for toxicity testing and drug transport studies 6 Since both normal cells and cancer cells can be grown in culture, the basic differences between them can be closely studied. In addition, it is possible, by the use of chemicals, viruses and radiation, to convert normal cultured cells to cancer causing cells. Thus, the mechanisms that cause the change can be studied. Cultured cancer cells also...
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