For decades, cell lines are playing a major role in advancement of scientific research and cell-based technologies. Cell culture experiments are of much importance in research especially for human based projects, yet researchers have to be very cautious during interpretation of data generated from cell lines only. Factors such as modified phenotype, genetic make-up, chromosome aberrations etc inclined researchers to adopt the primary cells in their research. Primary cells are cells derived directly from the source, therefore more representative of tissues compared to cell lines, increasing the physiological relevance of data obtained from in vitro assays or in vivo models.
Following are the advantages associated with primary cells in comparison to cell lines
Retention of genetic make-up-
Continuous cell lines becomes genetically modified due to continuous passage or subculture in vitro, however primary cells have a finite period of life span and expansion capacity, ensuring genomic and phenotypic stability.
Closely mimic in vivo condition
Primary cells closely stimulate biological living model, thus are the closest experimental tools available without using in vivo animal studies
More relevant data
Experiments performed with primary cells have potential to deliver more relevant and meaningful data as these cells are closest to the “real thing” in terms of phenotype and genotype both. Primary cells can be derived from well-identified tissue types from human or animal origins. With primary cells, the variability is associated due to donor-to-donor differences, however this can be advantageous as the donor-specific characteristics of primary cells can be an appropriate starting point for personalized medicine research and genomic analysis.
Though primary cells may be more difficult to work with, the data obtained from using primary cells is more relevant and reflective of the in vivo environment.