Category : Cell of the Month

Written on Jun, 09, 2020 by in , ,

Spheroids have been used in cell culture for decades. In the 1980s, different types of human cancer cells –normally grown as monolayers or suspension cultures–were tested for their innate abilities to form and grow as spheroids in vitro (1). 16 out of 27 tested tumor cell lines successfully formed spheroids (1). In the tumor cells study, scientists also observed that all large spheroids had necrotic centers but their shapes varied. Another study used V79 hamster cells (V79 379A), a human small cell carcinoma of the lung (ME/MAR) and 2 xenographed human melanomas (HX117 and HX118) in spheroids cultures in the 1980s (2). In the study, the effects on spheroid growth due to radiation treatments were measured and evaluated (2).

Widely acknowledged is the unique ability of spheroids to mimic natural cell responses and interactions. Cells in 3D are more representative of their native conditions than the traditional 2D monolayer culturing conditions (e.g., cell-to-cell interactions, drug-induced responses, and cells-to-environment responses). Furthermore, the multicellular arrangement allows different cell types to interact with each other within each spheroid. Past studies examined growth rates, hypoxic conditions, and other survival conditions for the spheroids (1-2). Currently, many cell culture reagents and instruments are available to enable spheroid cultures, making the technique increasingly accessible, flexible and approachable for scientists in a variety of research fields. (Unlock your creative minds!)

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Written on May, 01, 2020 by in ,

Vascular endothelium is a thin monolayer of cells that constitute the lining of blood vessels and organs (1-3). A hallmark of many diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes mellitus, viral infections, etc) is highlighted in the dysfunctional states of the vascular endothelium. Vascular endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system — heart, large blood vessels, and small capillaries (1). And the cells form the barrier between blood and organ tissues (3). 

Notable functions of the vascular endothelium:

1) Controls and regulates vascular relaxation and constriction;

2) Regulates homeostasis of solutes, fluid, macromolecules, hormones, platelets, and blood cells;

3) Directs “foreign materials” to inflammatory cell types;

4) Regulates blood fluidity;

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Written on Aug, 07, 2019 by in , ,

Cardiomyocytes are cardiac muscle cells. They are terminally differentiated and facilitate contractile forces (“beatings”) of the heart. Grown in vitro as a monolayer sheath, cardiomyocytes are connected by gap junction proteins that help synchronize contraction-relaxation cycles of the cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes may be used in various in vitro or in vivo studies; transplantation into normal or diseased systems; cardiac toxicology studies; or cardiovascular developmental studies. Cardiomyocytes have a high mitochondrial density, which allows them to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) quickly, making them highly resistant to fatigue.

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