Cytocentric Blog

Cells Need Protocol

There are many ways to use an incubator to grow cells. Many laboratories use the same incubator for many different protocols at the same time. In a perfect lab, the cells in each protocol would stay in their own incubator and nobody else would open the door after they go in. Due to logistics, though, most laboratory incubators look more like the one above.

Whose turn was it to check the water pan this week?


Photos – A. Henn, BioSpherix

Cells Need Dynamics

The cells in the two panels above are the same cultured K562 cells in photomicrographs taken hours apart – except that the cells aren’t really the same, are they?

Living cells just don’t stay the same over time. In fact, central to the very definition of “life” is the ability to change and grow.



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Cells Need Physiologic Simulation

In a typical incubator, cells experience controlled temperature and carbon dioxide levels. However, as we saw in the last post, cells can be out of optimum for long periods of time when handled in a room air biological safety cabinet (BSC).

There are many other factors that are critical for cells. The role of physiologic oxygen in cell culture should not be underestimated.

What is physiologic oxygen?

That depends upon the three L’s of physiology: Location, Location, Location


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Cells Need Full Time Optimization

From a cell’s point of view in passive culture, at any one time it lives in one of four environments or states:

1. Incubation

2. Manual Manipulation (in biosafety cabinet, glove box, lab bench, etc…)

3. Machine Processing (centrifugation, mixing, flow cytometric sorting, etc…)

4. In Transport (between states 1, 2,or 3)



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Cells Need Full Time Protection

The best environment for in vitro cell growth is also a favorable environment for microbial growth. Peoplecentric work environments include hoods, waterbaths and incubators that open into room air. In all of these spaces, cells and their culture vessels are exposed to airborne and people-borne contaminants.