The use of animal cell cultures as models of human disease is an integral part of scientific research, providing taxonomic equivalents resembling human physiology. The study of animal cells also affords researchers greater understanding in areas of developmental biology, protein expression, and genetic evolution.
An immortalized cell line is a population of cells from a multicellular organism which would normally not proliferate indefinitely but, due to mutation, have evaded normal cellular senescence and instead can keep undergoing division. The cells can therefore be grown for prolonged periods in vitro. The mutations required for immortality can occur naturally or be intentionally induced for experimental purposes. Immortal cell lines are a very important tool for research into the biochemistry and cell biology of multicellular organisms.
While developing a new cell line; the following points should be kept in mind
– Record all data relevant to the origin of the tissue when starting a new cell line and keep tissue for DNA profiling.
– Make sure the names of new cell lines are unique.
– Acquired cell lines should come from a reliable source and must be authenticated to avoid misidentification.
– Authenticated cells should be banked for future use and cultures replaced regularly from frozen stock.
– Regulations often apply to the distribution of cell lines and only authenticated stocks should be distributed.
Cell lines can be developed in-house, acquired from other laboratories (if there is no more reliable source) or purchased from a cell bank. Whatever the source, it is essential to ensure that the cells are authenticated and free from contamination such as mycoplasma.