The Physical Environment

Part of the Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology Techniques book series (ICMB)


The essential idea of the entire panoply of the chemical solution and mechanical apparatus surrounding the cell in in vitro culture is to recreate the physical, nutritional, and hormonal environment of the cell in vivo. This includes controlling the temperature, pH, osmolality, and gaseous environment; providing a supporting surface; and protecting the cell from chemical, physical, and mechanical stress. The mammalian body has evolved to do this over billions of years. We are still learning the correct requirements for different cells to function optimally and normally in vitro. This chapter will deal with the control of the physical environment. Chapter 4 on media and the section on serum-free media will deal with the nutrient and hormonal environment. It should be recognized, however, that these are interrelated and by necessity inseparable. Thus, the level of nutrients present determines the response to hormones, as does the surface on which the cell is grown. The energy source supplied may alter the osmolality and the temperature will alter the rate of energy use. Again, an understanding of how these basic elements interrelate will allow the cell biologist to alter and even design cell culture systems that are optimal for a specific function, whether supporting the function of a highly differentiated cell such as a neuron or providing the simplest environment possible for the production of recombinant proteins. We will deal with each of the aspects of the physical environment separately.


Hormonal Environment Roller Bottle Cell Culture Incubator Affect Cell Function Organic Buffer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashkenas, J., Muschler, J., and Bissell, M. J., 1966, The extracellular matrix in epithelial biology, Dev. Biol. 180:433–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Folkman, J., and Moscona, A., 1978, Role of cell shape in growth control, Nature 273:345–349.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gospodarowicz, D., Greenberg, G., and Birdwell, C. R., 1978, Determination of cellular shape by the extracellular matrix and its correlation with the control of cellular growth, Cancer Res. 38:4155–4177.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Gospodarowicz, D., Delgado, D., and Vlodansky, I., 1980, Permissive effects of the extracellular matrix on cell proliferation in vitro, Pro. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77:4094–4098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gospodarowicz, D., Greenberg, G., Foidart, J. M., and Savion, N., 1981, The production and localization of laminin in cultured vascular and corneal endothelial cells, J. Cell Physiol. 197:171–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gospodarowicz, D., Cohen, D., and Fujii, D. K., 1982, Regulation of cell growth by the basal lamina and plasma factors: Relevance to embryonic control of cell proliferation and differentiation, in Sato, G. H., Pardee, A. B., and Sirbasku, D. A., Growth of Cells in Hormonally Defined Medium. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, pp. 95–124.Google Scholar
  7. Mather, J. P., and Phillips, D. M., 1984, Establishment of a peritubular myoid-like cell line and interactions between established testicular cell lines in culture, J. Ultrastruct. Res. 87:263–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mather, J. P., Saez, J. M., Dray, F., and Haour, F., 1983, Vitamin E prolongs survival and function of porcine Leydig cells in culture, Ada Endocrinol. 102:470–475.Google Scholar
  9. Mather, J. P., Wolpe, S. D., Gunsalus, G. L., Bardin, C. W., and Phillips, D. M., 1984, Effect of purified and cell-produced extracellular matrix components on Sertoli cell function. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 438:572–575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Waymouth, C., 1970, Osmolality of mammalian blood and of media for culture of mammalian cells, In Vitro 6:109–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1998

Personalised recommendations