The relative sensitivity of two insect cell lines to laminar shear stress was determined, and the protective effect of polymers added to the growth media of two insect cell lines, Trichoplusia ni (TN-368) and Spodoptera frugiperda (SF-9), was evaluated. TN-368 and SF-9 cells were found to be equally sensitive to laminar shear stress. Methylcellulose [0.5% (w/v) Dow E4M Methocel] and dextran [4.5% (w/v)] increased the resistance of suspended cells to lysis due to laminar shear stress by factors of up to 76 and 28, respectively, compared to cells in media without additives. It was observed that the protective effect of Pluronic F-68 was concentration-dependent: 0.2% and 0.3% (w/v) F-68 increased the resistance of SF-9 cells to shear stress by factors of 15 and 42, respectively. However, increasing the concentration to 0.5% did not significantly increase the cells' resistance compared to 0.3% (w/v). F-68 at 0.2% only increased the resistance of TN-368 cells by a factor of 6. It is believed that the protection is a result of the polymer adsorbing to the cell membrane. None of the polymer additives tested had a significant effect on SF-9 or TN-368 growth rate.
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