An Introduction to Mammalian Cell Culture

Mammalian cell culture is a highly regarded technique with academic and research applications. It is a requisite skill for researchers whose work requires consistent, scaleable quantities of human and animal cells for pharmaceutical, immunology, toxicological, and molecular biology research. If you are interested in learning about mammalian cell culture and its vast range of applications, here’s a brief look into its study.

What is mammalian cell culture?

This refers to the process of growing cells taken from mammals in-vitro. That is, growing cells outside the original tissue in a growth medium with the right nutrients. Mammalian cells are eukaryotic, meaning the individual cells are more complex than bacterial cells, which are often used to teach simple cell culturing techniques.

This complexity also stems from the specialization of the different cells in the various organs and tissues. Mammalian cells are grouped into cell types depending on their origin, function and morphology.

Morphology of a cell determines how it is grown in cell culture. Most cells can be grouped by one of two growth conditions – adherent or suspension.

  • Adherent cells are grown on a flat surface where they adhere and grow to occupy the surface they are seeded upon.
  • Suspension cells are free-floating in solution and occupy the entire three-dimensional volume of the culture vessel.

Matching a cell’s growth condition to a culture vessel is critical to proper and effective mammalian cell culture.

Uses for mammalian cells

Understanding cell biology is the key driving factor of all biotechnical advancements, especially in research and medicine. Damage can occur to any of the body cells as a result of disease and injury. A deep understanding of cell biology and cell types allows researchers and scientists to develop appropriate treatment methods.

Additionally, research into mammalian cell structure can be utilized in the following ways.

  • Production of biological products such as antibodies, enzymes, hormones, etc. Recombinant antibody expression combines cutting edge molecular biology techniques with mammalian cell culture to create antibody products superior in purity and scalability to those produced using traditional methods. Using cell culture for the controlled production of biological molecules has opened up new opportunities for research and medicine that were once much less accessible.
  • Manufacture of vaccines to protect people from viral and bacterial diseases. One of the most important research models in any biological field and medicine is the in-vitro study of mammalian cells. Mammalian cell culture has been used for the development and manufacture of vaccines, which has a massive positive impact on public health. Even though it requires specialized tools and rigorous antiseptic measures to ensure no cross-contamination occurs, the proven benefits and potential promise of their application are boundless.

Cell Culture Company logo