The famous versus the inconvenient - or the dawn and the rise of 3D-culture systems

  • Autor:

    Altmann, B. / Welle, A. / Giselbrecht, S. / Truckenmüller, R. / Gottwald, E. (2009) 

  • Quelle:

    World J Stem Cells, 2009, 1(1), 43-8, doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v1.i1.43 

  • Datum: Dezember 2009


One of the greatest impacts on in vitro cell biology was the introduction of three-dimensional (3D) culture systems more than six decades ago and this era may be called the dawn of 3D-tissue culture. Although the advantages were obvious, this field of research was a "sleeping beauty" until the 1970s when multicellular spheroids were discovered as ideal tumor models. With this rebirth, organotypical culture systems became valuable tools and this trend continues to increase.

While in the beginning, simple approaches, such as aggregation culture techniques, were favored due to their simplicity and convenience, now more sophisticated systems are used and are still being developed. One of the boosts in the development of new culture techniques arises from elaborate manufacturing and surface modification techniques, especially micro and nano system technologies that have either improved dramatically or have evolved very recently.

With the help of these tools, it will soon be possible to generate even more sophisticated and more organotypic-like culture systems. Since 3D perfused or superfused systems are much more complex to set up and maintain compared to use of petri dishes and culture flasks, the added value of 3D approaches still needs to be demonstrated.