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J Biotechnol. 2012 May 31;159(1-2):83-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2012.01.033. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

An operational concept for long-term cinemicrography of cells in mono- and co-culture under highly controlled conditions--the SlideObserver.

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Department of General, Visceral, and Transplantation Surgery, Charité-Campus Virchow, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Virchow, Augustenburgerplatz 1, Berlin, Germany.


Cell morphology, proliferation and motility, as well as mono- and heterotypic cell-to-cell interactions, are of increasing interest for in vitro experiments. However, tightly controlling culture conditions whilst simultaneously monitoring the same set of cells is complicated. Moreover, video-microscopy of distinct cells or areas of cells over a prolonged period of time represents a technical challenge. The SlideObserver was designed for cinemicrography of cells in co-and monoculture. The core elements of the system are the SlideReactors, miniaturised hollow fibre-based bioreactors operated in closed perfusion loops. Within the SlideReactors, cells can be cultured under adaptable conditions as well as in direct- and indirect co-culture. The independent perfusion loops enable controlled variation of parameters such as medium, pH, and oxygenation. A combined automated microscope stage and camera set-up allows for micrograph acquisition of multiple user-defined regions of interest within the bioreactor units. For proof of concept, primary cells (HUVEC, human hepatocytes) and cell lines (HuH7, THP-1) were cultured under stable and varying culture conditions, as well as in mono- and co-culture. The operational system enabled non-stop imaging and automated control of process parameters as well as elective manipulation of either reactor. As opposed to non-perfused culture systems or comparable devices for cinemicrographic analysis, the SlideObserver allows simultaneous morphological monitoring of an entire culture of cells in multiple bioreactors.

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