Cell culture models using 2D substrates have provided important conceptual advances in understanding the biology of cells. However, cells grown on flat 2D surfaces can differ substantially from physiological environments. Animal models provide a useful tool to study biology in a physiologically relevant environment. However, animals models are expensive, time-consuming, use a significant amount of test material, and do not always provide a useful extrapolation to humans. In vitro 3D cell culture models bridge the gap between the two, allowing the study of human cells in a physiologically-relevant environment with the convenience and speed of an in vitro model. [Read more…]
In a previous post on Cellular Matrices for Translational Research, I introduced HyStem hydrogels. In order to engineer a custom culture system with HyStem, simple pilot studies or optimization assays can be tested to determine the appropriate parameters for each experiment. Below are some tips and guidelines for optimizing basic variables that can have a significant impact on the hydrogel properties and overall cell culture conditions.
Creating optimal cell culture conditions is one of the biggest challenges in stem cell research. Differences in in vitro and in vivo culture environments can greatly impact experimental results. In addition to essential nutrient components, providing an optimal substrate is crucial to a cell’s viability.
In particular, it is important to consider that cells in vivo generally grow in complex 3D structures, as opposed to the flat 2D sheets inherent in common cell culture techniques.