The Cell Culture Technology is still a variable and inconsistent model

Despite the widespread use that biological laboratories make of cell cultures, this technology still suffers from high variability, worsened in the majority of cases by the usage of animal-derived and non-standardized sera. Current methods do not allow the development of reliable models, since too many variables are still not considered in such technology.

The poor consistency of experimental results negatively affects budget and timing of cell culture users.

Moreover, at present, the cell culture technology is far from being a completely reliable experimental model that is able to reproduce the in-vivo cell physiology and behavior. Despite the recent technological advances, this variance leads to scientific data and pre-clinical trials which often are unreliable and misleading.

The system of membranes is an indispensable actor in cell physiology

During the last few years, the importance of the cell membrane network has increasingly grown. In fact, the membrane network is responsible for coordinating many aspects of cell physiology, among which the less considered trans-membrane protein folding, the functionality of membrane receptors and ionic channels, the second messenger lipid release, etc.

Nowadays, in cell biology, considering the specific lipid molecules forming the phospholipid bilayer is not enough, but it is essential to have an overall quantitative view.

In fact, the majority of the membrane network functionality is incidental to the relative quantity of each of its components on the total. Here is why the number of each fatty acid double bonds, the length of their carbon chain and the position of double bonds along this chain are useless parameters if considered individually. On the contrary, they are extremely important if considered at large, for the functionalities they give to the membrane network.

Therefore, a minimal increase of the percentage of Arachidonic Acid in the phospholipid tails has to be considered not only for its importance as possible signaling molecule, but also because it improves the membrane fluidity thanks to its four double bonds. And the capital importance of the DHA molecule (Docosahexaenoic Acid) does not only regard its specific functions for the transmission of the electric signal in neuronal membranes, but it also plays a role in the creation of lipid rafts and in the trans-membrane protein folding, as well as in the in-toto fluidity of the membrane due to its six unsaturations.

Membrane content and behavior is not considered during cultivation

The system of membranes, a primary and fundamental actor of most cellular processes, is not currently considered as a variability-introducing factor. However, studies have shown that even small changes in its composition can significantly alter the functional characteristics of the membrane, thus influencing many physiological processes and negatively impacting on the accuracy of scientific results.

It is crucial to underline that the membrane lipid composition of cultured cells does not reflect in any case the composition of its in-vivo counterparts.

This is due to an inadequate lipid supplementation, both by using bovine serum and new generation serum-free culture media. Such studies can be found in quite a few papers in the literature (Lamaziere et al., 2013; Martin et al., 2006; etc.).

An altered membrane composition weakens the functionality of the cell culture technology

It is widely demonstrated in the literature that the membrane composition of cells grown in bio-labs differs substantially from:

  • the one of the correspondent in-vivo cell type, thus distancing the experimental models from physiological conditions;
  • the one of the same cultures of the same lab growing in different flasks, thus introducing in-house variability;
  • the one of the same cultures used in other labs, thus limiting experimental reproducibility between different labs.

Some of the net effects of such uncontrolled membrane composition are:

  • The use of inadequate experimental models as far as the membrane network is concerned, with serious repercussions on the truthfulness of experimental data, given the capital importance of the membrane network in the cell physiology;
  • The weakening of all pre-clinical trials of the effectiveness and activity of a candidate drug, through the use of inaccurate in-vitro models that fail to deliver reliable predictions of clinical outcomes;
  • The achievement of biased experimental data in-house and between different laboratories and the scarce robustness of research protocols, which leads to a time- and resource-consuming optimization phase.

Remembrane leads the cell culture technology a step forward, by optimizing the membrane composition

Nowadays, scientists and companies using cultured cells require highly effective and reliable systems, that can optimally reflect in-vivo cells. This is even more stressed in the Regenerative Medicine, where it is essential to preserve the same physiology of the cell during the in-vitro transfer. Considering the membrane network, certainly these characteristics are not obtained with current methods. In fact, at present, the membrane network composition is not at all considered or it is superficially and wrongly examined. Therefore, the cell culture technology is still very much behind in this field.

Remembrane leads the cell culture technology a step forward, by envisaging the cell membrane network as the fundamental and indispensable actor of all cellular processes.

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