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Primary Dermal Fibroblast; Normal, Human, Adult (HDFa)


Primary Dermal Fibroblast; Normal, Human, Adult (HDFa) is a skin cell line with research applications in responding to pathogens, skin aging, wound healing, gene delivery, and skin diseases, including scleroderma. When grown in Fibroblast Basal Media supplemented with Fibroblast Growth Kit components, it provide an ideal cell system to propagate dermal fibroblasts in either serum-free or low serum conditions.
Product category
Human cells
Product type
Primary cell
Homo sapiens, human
Cell type
Spindle-shaped; cells are bipolar and refractile.
3D cell culture
Product format
Storage conditions
Vapor phase of liquid nitrogen


ATCC determines the biosafety level of a material based on our risk assessment as guided by the current edition of Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is your responsibility to understand the hazards associated with the material per your organization’s policies and procedures as well as any other applicable regulations as enforced by your local or national agencies.

All tissues used for isolation are obtained under informed consent and conform to HIPAA regulations to protect the privacy of the donor’s Personally Identifiable Information. It is best to use caution when handling any human cells. We recommend that all human cells be accorded the same level of biosafety consideration as cells known to carry Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other bloodborne pathogens. With infectious virus assays or viral antigen assays, even a negative test result may not exclude the possibility of the existence of a latent viral genome or infectious viral particles below the lower limit of detection of that assay.

ATCC recommends that appropriate safety procedures be used when handling all primary cells and cell lines, especially those derived from human or other primate material. Handle as a potentially biohazardous material using universal precautions. Cells derived from primate lymphoid tissue may fall under the regulations of 29 CFR 1910.1030 Bloodborne Pathogens.

ATCC highly recommends that appropriate personal protective equipment is always used when handling vials. For cultures that require storage in liquid nitrogen, it is important to note that some vials may leak when submersed in liquid nitrogen and will slowly fill with liquid nitrogen. Upon thawing, the conversion of the liquid nitrogen back to its gas phase may result in the vial exploding or blowing off its cap with dangerous force creating flying debris. Unless necessary, ATCC recommends that these cultures be stored in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen rather than submersed in liquid nitrogen.

Detailed product information


Specific applications
Response to pathogens, skin aging, wound healing, gene delivery, skin diseases (e.g., scleroderma); cosmetics research/testing.


Cells per vial
≥ 5.0 x 105
1.0 mL
Growth properties
Serum-free medium supports excellent growth curves and normal morphology, as well as serum-free (not animal-free) experimental conditions. The presence of 2% fetal bovine serum in the Fibroblast Growth Kit-Low serum supports more prolific growth compared to the serum-free medium.

Handling information

Unpacking and storage instructions
  1. Check all containers for leakage or breakage.
  2. Remove the frozen cells from the dry ice packaging and immediately place the cells at a temperature below ­-130°C, preferably in liquid nitrogen vapor, until ready for use.
Complete medium
1. Obtain one growth kit from the freezer; make sure that the caps of all containers are tight.
2. Thaw the components of the growth kit just prior to adding them to the basal medium. It is necessary to warm the L-glutamine component in a 37°C water bath, and shake to dissolve any precipitates prior to adding to the basal medium.
3. Obtain one bottle of Fibroblast Basal Medium (480 mL) from cold storage.
4. Decontaminate the external surfaces of all growth kit component vials and the basal medium bottle by spraying them with 70% ethanol.
5. Using aseptic technique and working in a laminar flow hood or biosafety cabinet, transfer the volume of each growth kit component, as indicated below, to the bottle of basal medium using a separate sterile pipette for each transfer.
6. Tightly cap the bottle of complete growth medium and swirl the contents gently to assure a homogeneous solution. Do not shake forcefully to avoid foaming. Label and date the bottle.
7. Complete growth media should be stored in the dark at 2°C to 8°C (do not freeze). When stored under these conditions, complete growth media is stable for 30 days.

If using the Fibroblast Growth Kit–Serum-Free (ATCC® PCS-201-040), add the indicated volume for each component in the order shown:
L-glutamine, 18.75 mL, 7.5 mM
Hydrocortisone Hemisuccinate, 0.5 mL, 1 µg/mL
HLL Supplement, 1.25 mL, (HSA 500 µg/mL, Linoleic Acid 0.6 µM, Lecithin 0.6 µg/mL)
rh FGF b, 0.5 mL, 5 ng/mL
rh EGF / TGF b-1 Supplement, 0.5 mL, (5 ng/mL, 30 pg/mL)
rh Insulin, 0.5 mL, 5 µg/mL
Ascorbic acid, 0.5 mL, 50 µg/mL

If using the Fibroblast Growth Kit–Low Serum (ATCC® PCS-201-041), add the indicated volume for each of the following components:
rh FGF b, 0.5 mL, 5 ng/mL
L-glutamine, 18.75 mL, 7.5 mM
Ascorbic acid, 0.5 mL, 50 µg/mL
Hydrocortisone Hemisuccinate, 0.5 mL, 1 µg/mL
rh Insulin, 0.5 mL, 5 µg/mL
Fetal Bovine Serum, 10.0 mL, 2%.

Antimicrobials and phenol red are not required for proliferation but may be added if desired. The recommended volume of either of the optional components (GA solution or PSA solution) to be added to the complete growth media is summarized below.

Addition of Antimicrobials/Antimycotics and Phenol Red (Optional):
Gentamicin-Amphotericin B Solution, 0.5 mL, (Gentamicin: 10 µg/mL, Amphotericin B: 0.25 µg/mL)
Penicillin-Streptomycin-Amphotericin B Solution, 0.5 mL, (Penicillin: 10 Units/mL, Streptomycin: 10 µg/mL, Amphotericin B: 25 ng/mL)
Phenol Red, 0.5 mL, 33 µM
Reagents for subculture
  1. D-PBS (ATCC 30-2200)
  2. Trypsin-EDTA for Primary Cells (ATCC PCS-999- 003) containing 0.05% Trypsin and 0.02% EDTA. Note: Do not use other trypsin-EDTA concentrations with ATCC PCS-201-012.
  3. Trypsin Neutralizing Solution (ATCC PCS-999-004)
Required media
One bottle of Fibroblast Basal Medium (ATCC PCS-201-030) plus one Fibroblast Growth Kit of either:
  1. Fibroblast Growth Kit–Serum-Free (ATCC PCS- 201-040) containing each of the following growth supplements: L-glutamine, hydrocortisone hemisuccinate, HLL supplement (human serum albumin, linoleic acid, lecithin), rh FGF β, rh EGF / TGF β-1 supplement, rh insulin and ascorbic acid.
  2. Fibroblast Growth Kit–Low Serum (ATCC PCS- 201-041) containing each of the following growth supplements: L-glutamine, hydrocortisone hemisuccinate, rh FGF β, rh insulin, ascorbic acid and Fetal Bovine Serum.
Optional media supplements
  1. Gentamicin-Amphotericin B Solution (ATCC PCS-999-025)
  2. Penicillin-Streptomycin-Amphotericin B Solution (ATCC PCS-999-002)
  3. Phenol Red (ATCC PCS-999-001)
Handling procedure
  1. Refer to the batch specific information provided on the last page of the product information sheet for the total number of viable cells recovered from this lot of ATCC® PCS-201-012.
  2. Using the total number of viable cells reported, determine how much surface area can be inoculated to achieve an initial seeding density of 2,500 to 5,000 cells per cm2.
  3. Prepare the desired combination of flasks. Add 5mL of complete growth medium per 25 cm2 of surface area. Place the flasks in a 37°C, 5% CO2, humidified incubator and allow the media to pre-equilibrate to temperature and pH for 30 minutes prior to adding cells.
  4.  While the culture flasks equilibrate, remove one vial of ATCC® PCS-201-012 from storage and thaw the cells by gentle agitation in a 37°C water bath. To reduce the possibility of contamination, keep the O-ring and cap out of the water. Thawing should be rapid (approximately 1 to 2 minutes).
  5. Remove the vial from the water bath as soon as the contents are thawed, and decontaminate by dipping in or spraying with 70% ethanol. All operations from this point onward should be carried out under strict aseptic conditions.
  6.  Add the appropriate volume of complete growth media [volume = (1 mL x number of flasks to be seeded) – 1 mL] into a sterile conical tube. Using a sterile pipette, transfer the cells from the cryovial to the conical tube. Gently pipette the cells to homogenize the suspension. Do not centrifuge.  
  7. Transfer 1 mL of the cell suspension to each of the pre-equilibrated culture flasks prepared in steps 1 to 3 of Handling Procedure for Frozen Cells and Initiation of Cultures. Pipette several times, then cap and gently rock each flask to evenly distribute the cells.
  8. Place the seeded culture flasks in the incubator at 37°C, 5% CO2 atmosphere. Incubate at least 24 hours before processing the cells further. 

Subculturing procedure
  1. Passage normal adult fibroblasts when the cells have reached approximately 80% to 100% confluence and are actively proliferating.
  2. Warm both the Trypsin-EDTA for Primary Cells (ATCC® PCS-999-003) and the Trypsin Neutralizing Solution (ATCC® PCS-999-004) to room temperature prior to dissociation. Warm the complete growth medium to 37°C prior to use with the cells.
  3. For each flask, carefully aspirate the spent media without disturbing the monolayer.
  4. Rinse the cell layer two times with 3 to 5 mL of D-PBS per 25 cm2 of surface area (ATCC® 30-2200) to remove any residual traces of serum. Rinse the cell layer one time with 3 to 5 mL of D-PBS if serum-free culture conditions are used.
  5. Add pre-warmed trypsin-EDTA solution (1 to 2 mL for every 25 cm2) to each flask.
  6. Gently rock each flask to ensure complete coverage of the trypsin-EDTA solution over the cells, and then aspirate the excess fluid off of the monolayer.
  7. Observe the cells under the microscope. When the cells pull away from each other and round up (typically within about 3 to 5 minutes), remove the flask from the microscope and gently tap it from several sides to promote detachment of the cells from the flask surface.
  8. When the majority of cells appear to have detached, quickly add to each flask, a volume of the Trypsin Neutralizing Solution (ATCC® PCS-999-004) equal to the volume of trypsin-EDTA solution used previously. Gently pipette or swirl the culture to ensure all of the trypsin-EDTA solution has been neutralized.
  9. Transfer the dissociated cells to a sterile centrifuge tube and set aside while processing any remaining cells in the culture flask.
  10. Add 3 to 5 mL D-PBS (ATCC® 30-2200) to the tissue culture flask to collect any additional cells that might have been left behind.
  11. Transfer the cell/D-PBS suspension to the centrifuge tube containing the trypsin-EDTA-dissociated cells.
  12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 as needed until all cells have been collected from the flask.
  13. Centrifuge the cells at 150 x g for 3 to 5 minutes.
  14. Aspirate the neutralized dissociation solution from the cell pellet and resuspend the cells in 2 to 8 mL fresh, pre-warmed, complete growth medium.
  15. Count the cells and seed new culture flasks at a density of 2,500 to 5,000 cells per cm2.
  16. Place newly seeded flasks in a 37°C, 5% CO2 incubator for at least 24 to 48 hours before processing the cells further. Refer to Maintenance for guidelines on feeding. 
Culture maintenance
  1. Before beginning, pre-warm complete growth media in a 37°C water bath. This will take between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the volume. If using a small volume of medium (50 mL or less), warm only the volume needed in a sterile conical tube. Avoid warming complete growth media multiple times.
  2. 24 hours after seeding, remove the cells from the incubator and view each flask under the microscope to determine percent cellular confluence.
  3. Carefully remove the spent media without disturbing the monolayer.
  4. Add 5 mL of fresh, pre-warmed complete growth media per 25 cm2 of surface area and return the flasks to the incubator.
  5. After 24 to 48 hours, view each flask under the microscope to determine percent cellular confluence. If not ready to passage, repeat steps 3 and 4 as described above. When cultures have reached 80% to 100% confluence, and are actively proliferating (many mitotic figures are visible), it is time to subculture. Fibroblasts are not a contact inhibited cell type. 

Quality control specifications

Bacterial and fungal testing
Not detected
Mycoplasma contamination
Not detected
Virus testing
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Not detected
Hepatitis C virus (HCV): Not detected
Hepatitis B virus (HBV): Not detected
Population doubling capacity
≥ 10 in complete growth medium
Population doubling time
≥ 70% when thawed from cryopreservation
Specific staining
Positive for L-DOPA Oxidase activity

Legal disclaimers

Intended use
This product is intended for laboratory research use only. It is not intended for any animal or human therapeutic use, any human or animal consumption, or any diagnostic use.

The product is provided 'AS IS' and the viability of ATCC® products is warranted for 30 days from the date of shipment, provided that the customer has stored and handled the product according to the information included on the product information sheet, website, and Certificate of Analysis. For living cultures, ATCC lists the media formulation and reagents that have been found to be effective for the product. While other unspecified media and reagents may also produce satisfactory results, a change in the ATCC and/or depositor-recommended protocols may affect the recovery, growth, and/or function of the product. If an alternative medium formulation or reagent is used, the ATCC warranty for viability is no longer valid.  Except as expressly set forth herein, no other warranties of any kind are provided, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, manufacture according to cGMP standards, typicality, safety, accuracy, and/or noninfringement.


This product is intended for laboratory research use only. It is not intended for any animal or human therapeutic use, any human or animal consumption, or any diagnostic use. Any proposed commercial use is prohibited without a license from ATCC.

While ATCC uses reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information on this product sheet, ATCC makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy. Citations from scientific literature and patents are provided for informational purposes only. ATCC does not warrant that such information has been confirmed to be accurate or complete and the customer bears the sole responsibility of confirming the accuracy and completeness of any such information.

This product is sent on the condition that the customer is responsible for and assumes all risk and responsibility in connection with the receipt, handling, storage, disposal, and use of the ATCC product including without limitation taking all appropriate safety and handling precautions to minimize health or environmental risk. As a condition of receiving the material, the customer agrees that any activity undertaken with the ATCC product and any progeny or modifications will be conducted in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines. This product is provided 'AS IS' with no representations or warranties whatsoever except as expressly set forth herein and in no event shall ATCC, its parents, subsidiaries, directors, officers, agents, employees, assigns, successors, and affiliates be liable for indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any kind in connection with or arising out of the customer's use of the product. While reasonable effort is made to ensure authenticity and reliability of materials on deposit, ATCC is not liable for damages arising from the misidentification or misrepresentation of such materials.

Please see the material transfer agreement (MTA) for further details regarding the use of this product. The MTA is available at

Frequently Asked Questions


Curated Citations

Franco-Barraza J, et al. Preparation of Extracellular Matrices Produced by Cultured and Primary Fibroblasts. Curr Protoc Cell Biol 71:10.9.1-10.9.34, 2016. PubMed: 27245425

Amara S, et al. Synergistic Effect of Pro-inflammatory TNFa and IL-17 in Periostin Mediated Collagen Deposition: Potential Role in Liver Fibrosis. Mol Immunol 64(1):26-35, 2015. PubMed: 25467797

Rezusta A, et al. In Vitro Fungicidal Photodynamic Effect of Hypericin on Candida Species. Photochem Photobiol 88(3):613-9, 2012. PubMed: 22128758

Scheipl S, et al. EGFR Inhibitors Identified As a Potential Treatment for Chordoma in a Focused Compound Screen. J Pathol 239(3):320-34, 2016. PubMed: 27102572

Talaei F, et al. Hydrogen Sulfide Restores a Normal Morphological Phenotype in Werner Syndrome Fibroblasts, Attenuates Oxidative Damage and Modulates mTOR Pathway. Pharmacol Res 74:34-44, 2013. PubMed: 23702336

View All Curated Citations for this Product

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