In Vitro - Plant

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 817–826 | Cite as

A method for culturing chick melanocytes: The effect of BRL-3A cell conditioning and related additives

  • Barbara Giss
  • Jane Antoniou
  • Gary Smith
  • John Brumbaugh


A method for growing chick embryo melanocytes is described that utilizes medium conditioned by Buffalo Rat liver (BRL-3A) cells. The dissected trunk region of each 72 h (Stages 14 to 19) embryo produces approximately 200,000 melanocytes (purity, 80%) when processed and cultured for 8 d. Thus, a typical experiment involving 20 embryos would produce a total of 4 × 106 melanocytes. Choice of serum, serum concentration, and cell density were determined experimentally. Partially purified multiplication stimulating activity (MSA) from BRL-3A cells and insulin were also tested as medium additives. MSA was not stimulatory, whereas insulin gave a positive response in 2% but not 10 or 0% serum. The final protocol used a modified F12 medium with 10% bovine calf serum conditioned by BRL-3A cells. Cultures were fed every other day. Small colonies of cells became evident by culture Day 3 and increased rapidly to Day 5 when pigmentation became obvious. Colony size continued to increase but more slowly from Days 5 to 8, whereas pigmentation increased rapidly and maximized on Day 8. There is a factor, or factors, present in BRL-3A conditioned medium that stimulates embryonic chick melanocytes to divide preferentially over contaminating cell types. This results in cultures that can provide adequate numbers and purity for biochemical studies.

Key words

chick melanocytes BRL-3A conditioning multiplication stimulating activity (MSA) insulin pigmentation 


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Copyright information

© Tissue Culture Assoc. Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Giss
    • 1
  • Jane Antoniou
    • 1
  • Gary Smith
    • 1
  • John Brumbaugh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincoln

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