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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2011 Apr;47(4):290-3. doi: 10.1007/s11626-011-9395-6. Epub 2011 Mar 12.

In vitro culture of fibroblast-like cells from postmortem skin of Katahdin sheep stored at 4 °C for different time intervals.

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Animal Science Division, Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley State University, 1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, GA 31030, USA.


Live animals have been produced recently from animal tissues preserved for decades at frozen temperatures with or without cryoprotectants. However, the tissues in these studies were cryopreserved within few hours of animal death to obtain culturable live cells as nuclear donors. How long the tissues can be left unfrozen after animal death, without losing the viability and potential to in vitro culture with comparable morphology and proliferative rate as the fresh tissues, is not completely understood. To understand this phenomenon, ear skin samples from individual sheep (n=3) were procured from slaughter plant and stored at 4 °C. After various intervals (2, 8, 24, 32, 48, and 56 h after slaughter), 2-3 mm(2) pieces (n=10) of skin samples were cultured for 12 d on two dishes (60 mm) for each sheep. Outgrowth of fibroblast-like cells was observed as early as day 4 of culture and was visible on dishes of all time points including 56 h by day 10. The number of outgrowing cells decreased with increasing time interval between animal slaughter and culture initiation. Secondary cultures were successfully established for all the time points. All cultures proliferated well and were apparently normal. Passage 2 cultures of 2 h and 56 h interval for one of the three sheep were compared for their growth pattern and proliferation rates. The population doubling time of 2 h and 56 h intervals was 33.12 and 34.8 h, respectively, and both the lines exhibited similar cell morphology and an "S"-shaped growth curve. These results suggest that skin tissues of sheep and perhaps other animal species with superior traits are effectively preserved at cellular level at least for 56 h at normal refrigerating conditions, without need of complicated cryopreservatives/cryotanks that are usually not available at small farms.

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