How Are Mammal Cell Strains and Cell Cultures Grown and Manipulated?
Growing mammalian cells under controlled conditions can be an excellent way to test anything from genetic therapy solutions to the effects of various tumors and diseases on specific types of cells. Cell culturing can be limited to specific cell strains, or led toward the development of cell lines that show little or no limit when it comes to their regenerative and growing abilities – as in the case of stem cell lines. Understanding cell cultures and strains at a deeper level can lead to many significant breakthroughs in genetics, medical science, biochemical research and a host of other study areas.
Defining Cell Cultures
When cells are grown in a lab or any other type of controlled environment, regardless of the types of cells we are talking about, the process is known as cell culturing. Depending on each cell type and the purpose of the experiment, the environment of the cell culture can vary. The basic principle of it is to add all the necessary nutrients to keep the cells alive, including materials and nutrients such as basic atmospheric gases, sugars, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and hormones. Many cell cultures also require a stable surface where they can grow.
What Is a Cell Strain?
When cells are grown in an artificial environment, it is possible to derive or select specific cells from those cell lines for various specific purposes. For example, you can extract non-immortalized cells from a cell line, alter them with the help of chemicals or a genetically modified virus, and watch them mutate or grow until senescence makes it impossible for them to divide any longer. Such processes are known as cell strains, and can also be obtained through the cloning of the cells in question.
The Growth and Manipulation of Cell Cultures and Strains
Cultured cells and strains can be manipulated in a variety of ways once they are maintained in a stable environment. Some of the manipulation techniques involved include passaging cells, media changes and transfecting cells. Laminar flow cabinets are typically used for manipulating cultured cells, and antibiotics or anti-fungal agents can also be added in order to eliminate any kind of chance of infection or contamination. Media changes involve either removing the cell strains or cultures from their medium using a method of aspiration or centrifuging them to add them to a fresh media. In transfection, the deliberate introduction of nucleic acids can be used to achieve the expression of a certain gene. Finally, the process of passaging cells usually involves separating some of the cells from the initial culture to reduce cell density and allow the cells to be cultured for a longer period of time.
Specific cells derived from cell lines and cell strains can be isolated from the tissue they would normally require to grow. A few examples include white blood cells, which can be separated for growth in a culture, or mononuclear cells, which are released from the tissues they normally reside in through a process of artificial digestion using various enzymes like trypsin or collagenase. When cells are isolated from primary cells and allowed to grow for a particular purpose, usually having to do with a particular research study, they are also regarded as cell strains.