Cell Culture Monitoring – a Widely Underestimated Task
Scientists routinely use standard microscopes to inspect cell cultures for performance, cell growth and culture contamination. This method does provide a certain level of confidence as to the quality of the cell culture. However, is this enough to produce reproducible, reliable and relevant data? According to the guidelines for Good Cell Culture Practice (GCCP) there is much more to the maintenance of a high standard in cell culture necessary to ensure reproducibility, credibility, acceptance, and proper application of any results produced1.
1) Gerhard Gstraunthaler (2010) Altex 27, Special Issue; 141-146
Different aspects of cell culture monitoring
Good Cell Culture Practice requires that reports of cell culture experiments include a basic and detailed description of the cultured cells, describing the origin and mode of culture initiation, the source and the morphology of the cell culture and its differentiation state. Morphology, gene expression, growth rates, viability, and adherence to matrices can all be used to describe the phenotype and differentiation stage of a cell line. Using time-lapse microscopy as well as automatic growth curve recording can help document morphology and the growth and motility behaviour of a cell culture. Finally, cell lines should be identified and authenticated using karyotyping, DNA analysis, fingerprinting or tests for cross-contamination.