Primary cell cultures more closely mimic the physiological state of cells in vivo and generate the most biologically relevant data. Primary cultures are cells freshly isolated from organ tissue and maintained for growth in vitro. Each mammalian tissue type is derived from the embryonic germ layer consisting of ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm, which differentiate into the many cell types that organize into tertiary structures such as skin, muscle, blood and blood vessels, internal organs, bone and cartilage, and components of the nervous system. Epithelial cells, fibroblasts, keratinocytes, melanocytes, endothelial cells, muscle cells, hematopoietic cells, and mesenchymal stem cells are the cell types most frequently used in research in primary cell culture.
Benefits of primary cells
Human primary cells are commonly used in vitro for preclinical and investigative biological research, such as studies of intercellular and intracellular communication, developmental biology, and the mechanisms seen in cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. Historically, investigators employed immortalized cell lines in tissue function; however, the use of cell lines containing gross mutations and chromosomal abnormalities may be poor indicators of normal cell phenotype and progression of early-stage disease. Human primary cells derived from particular tissues and maintained with the appropriate primary cell culture media and supplements now represent a more advanced model for recapitulating that tissue cell type than immortalized cells.
Human primary cells by tissue type
Primary endothelial cells are useful tools in studying cancer therapy, wound healing, high-throughput and high-content screening projects, cell signaling studies, and toxicology screening.
Primary epithelial cells are valuable tools for modeling the barriers between the inside and outside of the body and used in a variety of applications from cancer research to toxicology.
Primary fibroblasts are used in studies related to wound healing, tissue engineering and regeneration applications, and inducing pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
From the epidermis of human adult skin or human neonatal foreskin, keratinocytes are significant in the study of diseases such as skin cancer and psoriasis.
Specialized skin cells that produce the pigment melanin, melanocytes are useful as models for wound healing, toxicity, melanoma, dermal response to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, skin diseases, and cosmetic research.
Primary smooth muscle cells (SMCs) line the insides of hollow organs and mediate their contractility. SMCs can be used to model hypertension fibrosis as well as cancer and other diseases.
Stem cells develop into many different cell types in the body. Because of their differentiative capacity, they offer new potentials for modeling disease states.
Human primary cells resources
In Vitro Differentiation of Macrophages and Dendritic Cells from Primary Human CD14+ Monocytes
This study demonstrates the differentiation potential of cryopreserved primary human CD14+ monocytes towards macrophage and dendritic cell lineages for applications such as cancer immunology, vaccine development, inflammation, bone disease, immunosuppression, disease resolution, and tissue repair studies.Download the Application Note
Primary Cells for Drug Screening
We explored applications of human primary cells for cytotoxicity assays and drug screening. The results demonstrate that various types of human primary cells can be used for preclinical applications including drug screening, toxicology, and modeling physiological responses.Download the Presentation