Human Cell Culturing For Propagation of Tissue

Stem Cell Regeneration Center Glossary

Cell cultures or “In vitro cell culturing” is a process necessary for modern medical research and stem cell treatments. [1] There are several means by which cell growth and therapeutic cloning of needed cells may be achieved through the use of an artificial laboratory culture growth medium[2]

Cell Culture Video

Researchers in hematopoietic allogeneic and autologous stem cell function are continuing to explore other methods of achieving cell differentiation through culture for the transformation of new types of cells.[3]

Tissue culture, also known as cell culture, is a technique used to grow cells under controlled conditions outside their natural environment. When referring to human cells, this technique can be used for various purposes, such as research, therapy, drug testing, and more. Here’s a brief overview of the tissue culture process and its applications for human cells:

Basic Steps in Tissue Culturing:

  1. Tissue Procurement: This involves obtaining a sample of human tissue, which could be from a biopsy, surgical procedure, or other sources.
  2. Tissue Processing: The tissue sample is cleaned to remove any contaminants and then minced or enzymatically treated to dissociate it into individual cells or small cell clusters.
  3. stem-cell-cultivation-techniquesSeeding: The processed cells are placed in a culture dish with a nutrient-rich medium that supports their growth.
  4. Incubation: The culture dish is placed in an incubator that maintains an environment with controlled temperature (usually 37°C for human cells), humidity, and carbon dioxide levels.
  5. Maintenance: As cells grow, they consume nutrients from the medium and produce waste products. Periodically, the old medium needs to be replaced with fresh medium, a process called “feeding.” Cells may also need to be split or “passaged” to prevent overcrowding.
  6. Harvesting: Once sufficient growth has been achieved, the cells can be harvested for various applications.

Types of Human Cell Culture:

  1. Primary Cell Culture: Cells are obtained directly from human tissues and placed in culture. These cells have a limited lifespan and will eventually stop dividing.
  2. Cell Lines: These are cells that have been adapted to grow indefinitely in culture. Some cell lines arise from tumors (and are therefore “immortal”), while others are made immortal through genetic modifications.
  3. Stem Cell Culture: Human stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells, require specific conditions to maintain their undifferentiated state or to guide their differentiation into specific cell types.

Applications of Human Cell Culture:

  1. Research: Scientists use human cell cultures to study cell biology, genetics, and the effects of drugs or other treatments on human cells.
  2. Drug Development and Testing: Before testing new drugs in humans, they are often tested on cultured human cells to assess their effects and potential toxicity.
  3. Regenerative Medicine: Cells can be grown in the lab and then used to replace damaged tissues in patients. For instance, skin cells can be cultured and then used as grafts for burn victims.
  4. Vaccine Production: Some vaccines are produced using human cells as a substrate for growing viruses.
  5. Cancer Research: Tumor cells can be cultured to study their biology and to test potential anti-cancer treatments.
  6. Genetic Engineering: Human cells can be genetically modified in culture for various purposes, such as gene therapy or research.

Challenges and Considerations:

  • Contamination: Bacterial, fungal, or viral contamination can be a major issue in cell culture. Strict aseptic techniques are essential.
  • Cell Authenticity: Especially with long-term cultures, cells may undergo changes, or different cell lines might get mixed up. Regular checks and authentication are crucial.
  • Ethical Concerns: The use of certain types of human cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, raises ethical issues that need to be considered.

Tissue culture of human cells has revolutionized biomedical research and continues to play a critical role in advancing medicine and biology.

Published Clinical Citations

[1] ^ Chen, Guo-ling, Ying Xiao, Yang-yang Du, Yan-li Liu, Zhi-yu Liu, and Han Zhang. 2013. [Differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells induced by co-culture method]. Zhongguo yi xue ke xue yuan xue bao. Acta Academiae Medicinae Sinicae, no. 6. doi:10.3881/j.issn.1000-503X.2013.06.007.

[2] ^ Kedjarune, U, S Pongprerachok, P Arpornmaeklong, and K Ungkusonmongkhon. 2001. Culturing primary human gingival epithelial cells: comparison of two isolation techniques. Journal of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery : official publication of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery, no. 4.

[3] ^ Osathanon, Thanaphum, Philaiporn Vivatbutsiri, Waleerat Sukarawan, Wannakorn Sriarj, Prasit Pavasant, and Sireerat Sooampon. 2014. Cobalt chloride supplementation induces stem-cell marker expression and inhibits osteoblastic differentiation in human periodontal ligament cells. Archives of oral biology, no. 1 (September 6). doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2014.08.018.