Quantitative methods to characterize morphological properties of cell lines

Authors

  • Annalaura Mancia,

    1. Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Science Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC 29412
    2. Dept. of Biology and Evolution, University of Ferrara, Ferrara 44100, Italy
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  • John T. Elliott,

    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
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  • Michael Halter,

    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
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  • Kiran Bhadriraju,

    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
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  • Alessandro Tona,

    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
    2. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Arlington, VA 22203
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  • Tighe A. Spurlin,

    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
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  • Bobby L. Middlebrooks,

    1. The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
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  • John E. Baatz,

    1. Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Science Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC 29412
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  • Gregory W. Warr,

    1. Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Science Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC 29412
    2. Div. of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230
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  • Anne L. Plant

    Corresponding author
    1. Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
    • Div. of Biochemical Sciences, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899
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  • This article is a U.S. Government work, and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

Descriptive terms are often used to characterize cells in culture, but the use of nonquantitative and poorly defined terms can lead to ambiguities when comparing data from different laboratories. Although recently there has been a good deal of interest in unambiguous identification of cell lines via their genetic markers, it is also critical to have definitive, quantitative metrics to describe cell phenotypic characteristics. Quantitative metrics of cell phenotype will aid the comparison of data from experiments performed at different times and in different laboratories where influences such as the age of the population and differences in culture conditions or protocols can potentially affect cellular metabolic state and gene expression in the absence of changes in the genetic profile. Here, we present examples of robust methodologies for quantitatively assessing characteristics of cell morphology and cell–cell interactions, and of growth rates of cells within the population. We performed these analyses with endothelial cell lines derived from dolphin, bovine and human, and with a mouse fibroblast cell line. These metrics quantify some characteristics of these cells lines that clearly distinguish them from one another, and provide quantitative information on phenotypic changes in one of the cell lines over large number of passages. Published 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 28: 1069–1078, 2012

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