Cell Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1409 Views Dec 20, 2023

Streamlined procedures for processing and cryopreservation of cell therapies using good laboratory practices are integral to biomanufacturing process development and clinical applications. The protocol herein begins with the preparation of human cell types cultured as adherent (i.e., mesenchymal stromal cells, MSCs) or suspension cells (i.e., peripheral blood mononuclear cells, PBMCs) to comprehensively demonstrate procedures that are applicable to commonly used primary cell cultures. Cell processing steps consist of preparing high yields of cells for cryopreservation using instruments routinely used in cell manufacturing, including the Finia® Fill and Finish System and a controlled-rate freezer. The final steps comprise the storage of cells at subzero temperatures in liquid nitrogen vapor phase followed by the analysis of cell phenotypes before and after processing and cryopreservation, along with cell quality metrics for validation. Additionally, the protocol includes important considerations for the implementation of quality control measures for equipment operation and cell handling, as well as Good Laboratory Practices for cell manufacturing, which are essential for the translational use of cell therapies.

Key features

• The protocol applies to small- or large-scale manufacturing of cell therapy products.

• It includes streamlined procedures for processing and cryopreservation of cells cultured as adherent cells (MSCs) and suspension cells (PBMCs).

• Provides temperature control and rapid partitioning of sample in cryopreservation solution to maintain high viability of a range of cell types throughout the procedures.

• This protocol employs the Finia® Fill and Finish System and a controlled-rate freezer.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 428 Views Dec 20, 2023

Satellite glial cells (SGCs) are a type of glial cell population that originates from neural crest cells. They ultimately migrate to surround the cell bodies of neurons in the ganglia of the peripheral nervous system. Under physiological conditions, SGCs perform homeostatic functions by modifying the microenvironment around nearby neurons and provide nutrients, structure, and protection. In recent years, they have gained considerable attention due to their involvement in peripheral nerve regeneration and pain. Although methods for culturing neonatal or rat SGCs have long existed, a well-characterized method for dissociating and culturing adult SGCs from mouse tissues has been lacking until recently. This has impeded further studies of their function and the testing of new therapeutics. This protocol provides a detailed description of how to obtain primary cultures of adult SGCs from mouse dorsal root ganglia in approximately two weeks with over 90% cell purity. We also demonstrate cell purity of these cultures using quantitative real-time RT-PCR and their functional integrity using calcium imaging.

Key features

• Detailed and simplified protocol to dissociate and culture primary satellite glial cells (SGCs) from adult mice.

• Cells are dissociated in approximately 2–3 h and cultured for approximately two weeks.

• These SGC cultures allow both molecular and functional studies.

Graphical overview

Dissociation and culture of mouse satellite glial cells

0 Q&A 604 Views Nov 20, 2023

This paper presents versatile protocols to prepare primary human Schwann cell (hSC) cultures from mature peripheral nervous system tissues, including fascicles from long spinal nerves, nerve roots, and ganglia. This protocol starts with a description of nerve tissue procurement, handling, and dissection to obtain tissue sections suitable for hSC isolation and culturing. A description follows on how to disintegrate the nerve tissue by delayed enzymatic dissociation, plate the initial cell suspensions on a two-dimensional substrate, and culture the primary hSCs. Each section contains detailed procedures, technical notes, and background information to aid investigators in understanding and managing all steps. Some general recommendations are made to optimize the recovery, growth, and purity of the hSC cultures irrespective of the tissue source. These recommendations include: (1) pre-culturing epineurium- and perineurium-free nerve fascicles under conditions of adherence or suspension depending on the size of the explants to facilitate the release of proliferative, in vitro–activated hSCs; (2) plating the initial cell suspensions as individual droplets on a laminin-coated substrate to expedite cell adhesion and thereby increase the recovery of viable cells; and (3) culturing the fascicles (pre-degeneration step) and the cells derived therefrom in mitogen- and serum-supplemented medium to accelerate hSC dedifferentiation and promote mitogenesis before and after tissue dissociation, respectively. The hSC cultures obtained as suggested in this protocol are suitable for assorted basic and translational research applications. With the appropriate adaptations, donor-relevant hSC cultures can be prepared using fresh or postmortem tissue biospecimens of a wide range of types and sizes.

0 Q&A 329 Views Nov 20, 2023

The blastocysts consist of dozens of cells of three distinct lineages: epiblast (Epi), trophoblast (TB), and primitive endoderm (PrE). All embryonic and extraembryonic tissues are derived from Epi, TB, and PrE. Stem cell lines representing preimplantation Epi and TB have been established and are known as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and trophoblast stem cells (TSCs). Extraembryonic endoderm cells (XENCs) constitute a cell line that has been established from PrE. Although in vivo, PrE gives rise to visceral endoderm (VE), parietal endoderm (PE), and marginal zone endoderm (MZE); XENCs, on blastocyst injection into chimeras, primarily contribute to the distal region of PE. Here, we provide a comprehensive protocol for the establishment of fully potent primitive endoderm stem cell (PrESC) lines. PrESCs are established and maintained on mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder cells in a serum-free medium supplemented with fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4), heparin, CHIR99021, and platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA). PrESCs co-express markers indicative of pluripotency and endoderm lineage commitment, exhibiting characteristics akin to those of PrE. On transplantation of PrESCs into blastocysts, they demonstrate a high efficiency in contributing to VE, PE, and MZE. PrESCs serve as a valuable model for studying PrE, sharing similarities in gene expression profiles and differentiation potential. PrESCs constitute a pivotal cornerstone for in vitro analysis of early developmental mechanisms and for studies of embryo reconstitution in vitro, particularly in conjunction with ESCs and TSCs.

Key features

• Establishment and maintenance of primitive endoderm stem cell (PrESCs) capable of recapitulating the developmental prowess inherent to PrE.

• Offering a source of PrE lineage for embryo-like organoid reconstitution studies.

Graphical overview

1 Q&A 527 Views Oct 20, 2023

Dendritic cells have been investigated for cell-based immunotherapy for various applications. The low abundance of dendritic cells in blood hampers their clinical application, resulting in the use of monocyte-derived dendritic cells as an alternative cell type. Limited knowledge is available regarding blood-circulating human dendritic cells, which can be divided into three subsets: type 2 conventional dendritic cells, type 1 conventional dendritic cells, and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. These subsets exhibit unique and desirable features for dendritic cell-based therapies. To enable efficient and reliable human research on dendritic cell subsets, we developed an efficient isolation protocol for the three human dendritic cell subsets, resulting in pure populations. The sequential steps include peripheral blood mononuclear cell isolation, magnetic-microbead lineage depletion (CD14, CD56, CD3, and CD19), and individual magnetic-microbead isolation of the three human dendritic cell subsets.

Graphical overview

Scheme of the dendritic cell (DC) isolation protocol. Starting material for this process is human blood (buffy coat or aphaeresis). From that, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are isolated by using ficoll gradient centrifugation. Then, an enrichment for DCs is performed using semi-automated equipment. From the enriched fraction, DC subsets are obtained by magnetic cell sorting.

0 Q&A 235 Views Oct 5, 2023

Fertilized teleost fish eggs are a complex formation, in which dividing cells arelocated in a small point in the entire volume of eggs. Isolating embryonic cellscan be considered a necessary step in the research of developmentalpeculiarities of fish cells at the earliest stages of embryogenesis beforeembryo formation. The main advantages of the offered protocol are rapidisolation, no enzymes, and overall low cost compared to other protocols. Theprotocol is suitable for the isolation of embryonic cells from medium-sized eggsat the stages of blastula or gastrula, for studies in a variety of applications(e.g., microscopy, flow cytometry, and other methods). Fertilized nelma eggs(Stenodus leucichthys nelma) are used in the protocol as a model.

Key features

• Fast and cheap isolation of cells from fish eggs at early stages (blastula orgastrula).

• Applicable for most of the methods for cell study (any staining, microscopy, flowcytometry, etc.).

• Can be applied to other teleost fish eggs with medium egg diameter of 3–4mm.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 388 Views Sep 5, 2023

In this article, we provide a method to isolate embryonic melanoblasts from reporter mouse strains. The mice from which these cells are isolated are bred into the ROSA26mT/mG reporter background, which results in green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in the targeted melanoblast population. These cells are isolated and purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting using GFP fluorescence. We also provide a method to culture the purified melanoblasts for further analysis. This method yields > 99% purity melanoblasts specifically targeted, and can be used for a variety of studies, including gene expression, clonogenic experiments, and biological assays, such as viability, capacity for directional migration, or differentiation into melanin-producing melanocytic cells.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 410 Views Jul 5, 2023

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a non-conventional T-cell population expressing a conserved semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) that reacts to lipid antigens, such as α-galactosyl ceramide (α-GalCer), presented by the monomorphic molecule CD1d. iNKT cells play a central role in tumor immunosurveillance and represent a powerful tool for anti-cancer treatment, notably because they can be efficiently redirected against hematological or solid malignancies by engineering with tumor-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or TCRs. However, iNKT cells are rare and require specific ex vivo pre-selection and substantial in vitro expansion to be exploited for adoptive cell therapy (ACT). This protocol describes a robust method to obtain a large number of mouse iNKT cells that can be effectually engineered by retroviral (RV) transduction. A major advantage of this protocol is that it requires neither particular instrumentation nor a high number of mice. iNKT cells are enriched from the spleens of iVα14-Jα18 transgenic mice; the rapid purification protocol yields a highly enriched iNKT cell population that is activated by anti-CD3/CD28 beads, which is more reproducible and less time consuming than using bone marrow–derived dendritic cells loaded with α-GalCer, without risks of expanding contaminant T cells. Forty-eight hours after activation, iNKT cells are transduced with the selected RV by spin inoculation. This protocol allows to obtain, in 15 days, millions of ready-to-use, highly pure, and stably transduced iNKT cells that might be exploited for in vitro assays and ACT experiments in preclinical studies.

0 Q&A 1351 Views Apr 5, 2023

Cellular senescence is a reprogrammed cell state triggered as an adaptative response to a variety of stresses, most often those affecting the genome integrity. Senescent cells accumulate in most tissues with age and contribute to the development of several pathologies. Studying molecular pathways involved in senescence induction and maintenance, or in senescence escape, can be hindered by the heterogeneity of senescent cell populations. Here, we describe a flow cytometry strategy for sorting senescent cells according to three senescence canonical markers whose thresholds can be independently adapted to be more or less stringent: (i) the senescence-associated-β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) activity, detected using 5-dodecanoylaminofluorescein Di-β-D-galactopyranoside (C12FDG), a fluorigenic substrate of β-galactosidase; (ii) cell size, proportional to the forward scatter value, since increased size is one of the major changes observed in senescent cells; and (iii) cell granularity, proportional to the side scatter value, which reflects the accumulation of aggregates, lysosomes, and altered mitochondria in senescent cells. We applied this protocol to the sorting of normal human fibroblasts at the replicative senescence plateau. We highlighted the challenge of sorting these senescent cells because of their large sizes, and established that it requires using sorters equipped with a nozzle of an unusually large diameter: at least 200 µm. We present evidence of the sorting efficiency and sorted cell viability, as well as of the senescent nature of the sorted cells, confirmed by the detection of other senescence markers, including the expression of the CKI p21 and the presence of 53BP1 DNA damage foci. Our protocol makes it possible, for the first time, to sort senescent cells from contaminating proliferating cells and, at the same time, to sort subpopulations of senescent cells featuring senescent markers to different extents.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 1115 Views Feb 20, 2023

Cardiac fibroblasts are one of the major constituents of a healthy heart. Cultured cardiac fibroblasts are a crucial resource for conducting studies on cardiac fibrosis. The existing methods for culturing cardiac fibroblasts involve complicated steps and require special reagents and instruments. The major problems faced with primary cardiac fibroblast culture are the low yield and viability of the cultured cells and contamination with other heart cell types, including cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and immune cells. Numerous parameters, including the quality of the reagents used for the culture, conditions maintained during digestion of the cardiac tissue, composition of the digestion mixture used, and age of the pups used for culture determine the yield and purity of the cultured cardiac fibroblasts. The present study describes a detailed and simplified protocol to isolate and culture primary cardiac fibroblasts from neonatal murine pups. We demonstrate the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts through transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 treatment, representing the changes in fibroblasts during cardiac fibrosis. These cells can be used to study the various aspects of cardiac fibrosis, inflammation, fibroblast proliferation, and growth.

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