The choice of cell line, primary cells, or multicellular developmental model is critical for live cell analysis. Many cellular model systems have particular growth characteristics or behaviors that make them unsuitable for live cell analysis, while others seem ideally suited and can tolerate the sometimes less than ideal “living” conditions often necessary for live cell analysis, particularly for extended time analyses.
Primary cell lines, being extracted directly from tissue, are often an attractive choice in live cell analysis because they are presumably closer to their natural origins and thus may be more relevant in predictive cell culture. There are a large number of primary cultures that can be extracted and maintained from tissues; however, most have similar limitations in growth rate, passaging, and maintaining in vivo-like characteristics. The more passaging that is done, the less a primary cell culture is truly “primary”. They are often less controllable than cell lines so it is widely acknowledged that when using primary cultures, know your source populations well, control their culture environment carefully, and validate their phenotypes periodically (such as with antibody staining patterns and karyotyping).
Example of Primary Cultures Useful for Live Cell Analysis
With the plethora of cell lines available today the choice for investigators is quite large. Many cell lines today have become the “go to” cell line for examining particular cellular events such as apoptosis, or cellular transport. Researchers should certainly consult the growing literature available using live cell analysis and use it for guidance. Instrumentation improvements continue to expand our ability to control and define both the extrinsic and intrinsic factors necessary for even the most sensitive cell cultures.
Example Cell Lines Useful for Live Cell Analysis
Sample Application/ Uses
Cancer, melanoma studies
Transport studies, cell junctions
EGFR mutations, Drug transport
Epithelial / endothelial
RNAi, channels, metabolism, viral infections
Cellular processes, apoptosis, cancer research
Liver metabolism, cell polarization
Apoptosis, cytokine response
Cancer, anchorage dependence
Apoptosis, cancer, estrogen receptor research
Cytokeratin, Cell Junction studies
Fibroblast metabolism, cell division, cell cycle
Nerve Growth Factor response, neurite formation
Mitosis, cytoskeletal studies, intracellular transport
Yeast, bacterial, and fungal cultures are also being studied using in live cell platforms for a variety of research topics including host pathogen interactions, infection, toxicology/drug response, chemotaxis/migration, microenvironment dynamics, microbiome, and bacterial or yeast single cell analysis.
Application Note Download:
Read about live cell analysis of host pathogen interactions in long term cultures.
Since the advent of molecular genetics, certain multicellular models have emerged as extremely useful systems for the study of development, genetic manipulations, toxicity, signaling, neural processing, liver and digestive tract function, and behavior.
Examples of Animal Models Used in Live Cell Analysis
Sample Application/ Uses
Defined genetics, optically clear embryo
Organ development, Neural connectivity, physiology, oxidative stress
Defined, manipulatable genetics, short lifecycle
Genetics, Organ development, Neural connectivity
Defined genetics and limited cell types
Genetics, early development, cellular interactions