During cell culture, it’s crucial that a cell’s artificial growth environment mirrors in vivo conditions as much as possible. By giving cells the right conditions, they have the best chance of forming healthy, dependable cultures for research purposes.
In the past, you may have used a solid, non-porous surface, such as polystyrene for cell culture. This type of surface only allows gas and nutrient exchange to occur through the top of the cell, whereas in vivo, these processes occur from all directions.
It is very difficult to mimic a cell’s natural environment using a non-porous culture surface, but Cell Culture Inserts made with a porous polycarbonate membrane presents a viable solution. The inserts allow compounds to be transported from all directions, creating a more representative, three-dimensional environment. The pores also provide a means for cells to move toward certain chemical stimulus in the culture system mimicking chemotaxis in vivo.
The versatile design of Cell Culture Inserts exposes cells in their entirety to growth media, while maintaining a separation barrier between the upper and lower compartments. This feature allows you to conduct various experiments such as co-culture where you can expose different cell types to a single environment simultaneously without the risk of cross contamination; something that is useful in understanding how different cells interact with the environment.
Normally, manipulating inserts halfway through an experiment can be messy, but the design of a Carrier Plate allows you to easily move inserts to a different hanging height within the wells or to a separate cell culture plate with different culture environments, opening up an array of possible experiments.
While cell culture is an established technique, porous membranes have the potential to enhance and diversify its current applications. By better imitating an in vivo environment, cells are able to develop and respond more naturally than in a traditional monolayer culture.
More about the versatility of cell culture inserts
Want to learn more about the advantages of culturing cells on a porous membrane? Find the on demand Cell Culture Cafe Webinar, Versatile is smart! The power behind culturing cells on a porous membrane in the Thermo Scientific Cell Culture Community.