How Are Stem Cells Grown In The Laboratory?
Stem cells are grown in a maintained temperature of 37º C in incubators in culture dishes under high humidity.
Different culture medium is used to grow and maintain different types of stem cells.
It is necessary to grow stem cells in an undifferentiated state, and to make the cells differentiate into specialized cells, when required.
Human embryonic stem cells can be grown as small colonies on layers of skin cells in the presence of serum. The skin cells are known as "feeder cells" and together with the serum, provide unknown factors that nourish and support the embryonic stem cells.
The cells are divided into small colonies or single cells and transferred into new culture dish when the large colonies of embryonic stem cells are grown. "Passaging" or transferring is done to grow these cells continuously.
Hematopoietic stem cells are obtained from bone marrow, placenta or umbilical cord blood. As the hematopoietic stem cells differentiate very quickly it is difficult to make them grow in culture medium.
Human bone marrow stem cells are isolated from the bone marrow and grown in culture media supplemented with serum from the blood. Bone marrow cells attach to the bottom of the culture dishes and can grow for several weeks before they differentiate.
Human neural stem cells can grow from fetal or adult brain tissue in culture media. They grow in suspension and they do not need serum from blood.
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