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The world is not flat: Exploring cells and tissues in three dimensions
Date:10/19/2010

ulturing methods, human cells used for research were typically grown on flat surfaces (often composed of treated polystyrene or glass), resulting in the growth of 2-D cell sheets known as monolayers. However, isolating cells from their 3-D architecture and native microenvironment comes at a price. As Jennifer Barrila, one of the lead authors of this review explains, "we know that if you take a biopsy from a tissue, homogenize it and plate it on a flat surface and follow its growth, it's going to immediately de-differentiate and start losing a lot of the features and functions that it normally has in the body, because it is no longer in that characteristic 3-D shape. "

A number of innovative techniques now exist to establish 3-D cell culture models that are better able to mimic the in vivo characteristics of cells and tissues in the body. The current review focuses on using one such promising technology that was originally developed by NASA engineers to simulate aspects of the microgravity environment encountered by cells cultured during spaceflight.

This technology, known as a rotating wall vessel bioreactor or RWV, is a cylindrical, rotating apparatus, filled with a culture medium supplying essential nutrients to the cells. The natural sedimentation of cells due to gravity is balanced by the bioreactor's rotation, resulting in a gentle falling of cells within the media in the chamber. During culture, the cells are attached to porous microcarrier beads (or other scaffolding) which allows for cellular responses to chemical and molecular gradients in three dimensions in a manner closely mimicking the conditions encountered by tissues in vivo. Under these conditions, the cells will aggregate to form 3-D tissue-like structures.

The cell culture environment within the RWV bioreactor is also designed to replicate natural, physiologically relevant conditions of low fluid shear found in the body. Fluid shear is the mechanical force exer
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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