What is a Cell Culture? Application of Cell Culture?

What is a Cell Culture? Cell culture is a technique in which cells are grown under specific conditions to study their chromosomes and genes. Cells cultured under this technique may also be used in drug screening and development, the food industry, and medical research. However, it must be understood that a cell culture does not always work as expected. The loss of the cell’s ability to proliferate or survive during the process is due to pathological or physiological changes. These changes are called apoptosis, and it is crucial to know how to measure apoptosis during cell culture studies.

What is a Cell Culture? Application of Cell Culture?
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Table of Contents

What is Cell Culture?

Cell culture is a process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions.

Cell culture is a technique that allows scientists to grow cells outside of their natural environment in order to study the biology of cells. It is used to develop drugs, enzymes, growth factors, and vaccines. Its advancements have also contributed to the concept of regenerative medicine. Cells grown in this way can exhibit a variety of characteristics depending on their environment.

History of Cell Culture

Cell culture was first developed in the early 20th century to study the behavior of animal cells in a stress-free environment. Amphibian cells were the first models to be cultured in this way. The reason they were initially chosen is because they are exothermic, which allows for a shorter time between successive incubations. However, as medical science progressed, interest turned to endothermic animals, such as mice and rats, which have more similar physiology to human cells. Genetically pure mice also made their way into research laboratories.

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Important Steps of Cell Culture

  • Cell culture is a complex process that involves several steps.
  • The first step is to isolate cells and then subculture them.
  • The next step is to keep them in the most favorable conditions for cell growth.
  • After the thirtieth division cycle, primary culture cell lines usually enter a state of senescence.
  • They are then stored in a cell bank system. Alternatively, cells can be immortalized and can proliferate indefinitely.
  • This has a number of advantages, including unlimited availability of cells, however the disadvantages include the lack of their original characteristics.

Types of Cell Culture

In addition to growing cells, cell culture also involves different types of media. These include suspension and adherent cultures. Although most cell types do not grow in suspensions, many adherent cell types can be adapted to these conditions. Depending on the type of medium, adherent cultures can be further divided into 2D and 3D cultures.

Cells cultured in laboratory culture can be classified into three basic categories based on morphology. These include epithelial-like cells, fibroblastic cells, and lymphoblast-like cells. Cells in the first category are multipolar and bipolar and grow attached to the culture medium. Cells in the other category are monolayers, which have regular dimensions.

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How to Maintain Cell Lines?

Another key step in cell culture is passage. Passage involves transferring a small number of cells from one culture vessel to another. This can prolong the cell culture process and prevent the senescence associated with high cell density.

Passage is easy for suspension cultures; however, this method is complicated with adherent cultures. This process is often performed with an enzyme mix that consists of trypsin and EDTA. Once the detached cells are removed from the adherent culture, they can then be seeded into a new culture.

Application of Cell Culture

In research

Cell culture is a very useful tool for researchers who study genetics, cellular biology, and biochemistry. It is also an excellent way to study the effects of drugs and other substances on cell growth and function. It can be used to study how new drugs work and the effect of drugs on the aging process. The technique can also be used to study cancer cells. For example, the process of transfection of cells with viruses can help researchers better understand the mechanism of tumorigenesis.

Studying Chromosomes

Cell culture can also be used to study chromosomes. In chromosome studies, cells are cultured in order to separate them and analyze the chromosomes and genes. To isolate chromosomes, the cells are cultured in a medium containing colchicine.

This drug synchronizes cells in the mitotic phase. Metaphase cells are then fixed on glass slides. They are then “banded” with various techniques. The most common technique is G-banding, which produces dark and pale bands along the chromosome length. This technique is a highly reproducible method for studying chromosomes in cell culture.

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Other Fields

Cell culture has many advantages. For example, cell cultures can be extended and manipulated to produce distinct genotypes. The extended culture method allows researchers to track the chromosomes of a single cell. For genetics research, this technique is particularly useful for studying chromosomes and genes.

Cultured animal cells are also useful for gene therapy. This technique allows researchers to replace missing genes with functional ones. The altered cells are then introduced into a patient. Alternatively, the functional gene is inserted into a viral vector and allowed to infect the patient’s body. The virus then helps the cells express the functional gene.

Drug screening and development

The use of cell culture models in drug screening and development has a variety of benefits. Cells grown on tissue-specific substrates exhibit greater cellular integrity, resulting in more accurate predictions of drug efficacy and toxicity. Furthermore, cell cultures can be expanded in vitro for longer periods of time, allowing researchers to screen a wide range of potential therapies.

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Drug Toxicity

Cell culture models are highly versatile and are used for various purposes, including drug screening, drug toxicity testing, and biomolecule synthesis at a large scale. They are particularly useful in the pharmaceutical industry, where they can be used in place of animal models and to assess the maximum permissible doses of new drugs.

For an Example: A common approach in cell culture involves using scaffolds and other materials to mimic the physiological environment of cells. These can come in the form of aggregates, hydrogels, or ECM matrices. Depending on their composition, these materials can mimic the cells’ own physiological environment. Some scaffolds are non-adherent and can promote the self-aggregation of cells. Another approach involves using proprietary coatings on standard microplates and photolithography.

In drug discovery, cell culture was a major breakthrough. It allowed researchers to follow cells and monitor their growth, differentiation, and response to different drug compounds. This advancement in drug discovery has enabled scientists to conduct a wide range of clinical trials. However, cell culture techniques still have limitations.


A common application for cell culture in drug screening and development is oncology. Many existing 3D cell tumor models are plate-based spheroids. However, a newer development, dish-based organoids, show great potential as a drug discovery tool. Using these models, scientists can cultivate patient-specific cells and predict their response to drugs before giving them to patients.

Food industry

Cell culture is a technique that uses plant cells to grow food. It has a variety of applications, from treating diseases to developing treatments. It can even help produce new products for grocery stores.

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Foods made with cell culture can be processed and produced in a laboratory. It is important to maintain a sterile environment for this production. Food safety is also an important consideration. In addition, it is necessary to determine how these new foods will be accepted by the consumer. In the past, alternative protein foods and cell-cultivated ingredients in food have faced challenges in gaining wide acceptance. Understanding the obstacles to adoption can help researchers and the food industry to overcome them.

Cell Culture Conditions

Different types of cell cultures require different culture conditions. However, the basic elements of an artificial environment for cell culture are the same. The artificial environment includes a suitable vessel, a substrate, and a growth medium. The medium supplies essential nutrients, growth factors, and hormones to the cells. It also controls the physicochemical environment of the cells. Most cells require a solid substrate to grow, but some can be grown on a suspended media.


Cell culture is an excellent tool for creating novel products. It is a process in which cells are grown in bioreactors. During the process, the cells are fed with a liquid medium. The composition of the medium can vary, but the essential ingredients are the same. The basal medium is a mix of salts and nutrients.

Animal cell-culture technology is gaining interest in the food industry. Many companies are actively developing new products using this technology. Some of these products are intended to mimic traditional meat or poultry products. However, there are questions about the regulation of this technology. A public process is likely to be necessary to resolve these concerns.

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The FDA and USDA will work together to determine whether cell culture is a safe and effective way to produce food. These two agencies will also collaborate to transfer regulatory oversight of cellular products to the USDA-FSIS. It is essential to maintain high quality standards when producing cell culture products. The FDA and USDA will cooperate to develop detailed procedures to facilitate this.