Optimize your 3D Cell Culture with Cell Systems

Only Cell Systems can provide your research institute with an unmatched level of consistency that is required for optimized 3D culture experiments.

Cell Systems primary cells are:

  • ideal for 3D cell culture, organ-on-a-chip, or within microfluidic devices
  • available in large reserved lots from the same donor or pooled set
  • antibody-free which makes for a more biologically-relevant experiment
  • provided in vials with 1 to 2 million cells (more than most suppliers)
  • highly-cited in 3D cell culture experiments (see below for examples)

3D cell culture is an exciting new paradigm in basic and clinical biomedical research. Culturing cells in three-dimensional space – on a scaffold, in a matrix, or within a bioreactor – offers certain advantages over the conventional monolayer model. Most importantly, the 3D environment better recapitulates the cell’s natural context in the human body. Researchers are finding that 3D cell culture and co-culture (combinations of defined cell types in close proximity) allow for better prediction of drug activity and toxicity, and stronger ex vivo models of biological processes and cellular mechanisms (Ref 1-4).

Maximize your discoveries by employing the most physiologically-relevant cells in your 3D culture.

In contrast to immortalized cell lines, Cell Systems Primary Human Cells are isolated directly from human tissue, without genetic modification or manipulation. Most of our cell isolates are purified through a unique process which yields pure populations of cells unadulterated by antibody labels. Our deep inventory of high-purity primary cells translates to more consistent, higher quality, and more meaningful results from your work.

Research using primary cells from Cell Systems.

Recreating blood-brain barrier physiology and structure on chip: A novel neurovascular microfluidic bioreactor

Brown JA, Pensabene V, Markov DA, Allwardt V, Neely MD, Shi M, Britt CM, Hoilett OS, Yang Q, Brewer BM, Samson PC, McCawley LJ, May JM, Webb DJ, Li D, Bowman AB, Reiserer RS, Wikswo JP. Biomicrofluidics. 2015 Sep; 9(5): 054124. doi: 10.1063/1.4934713

Figure 2. Live/dead stain of cell culture within the NeuroVascular Unit (NVU). (a) Human brain-derived microvascular endothelial cells (Cell Systems ACBRI 376) in the perfusion channel of the NVU. Live = green; dead = red (DIV 14; DIV = days in vivo). (b) Endothelial cells coating the vascular chamber (DIV 14). (c) Pericytes and astrocytes on the membrane in the brain chamber. (d) Neurons in the brain chamber suspended in collagen gel (DIV 14). (e) Endothelial cells in the perfusion channels of the NVU (DIV 21). (f) Live/dead and (g) live-only staining of endothelial cells coating the vascular chamber side of the membrane (DIV 21). Over 80% viability is maintained after 3 weeks in culture (DIV 21, live only). (h) Pericytes and astrocytes on the brain side of the same membrane region as in (g) and (h), with the collagen shrinkage shown. Modified from original publication with permission of authors; distributed under Creative Commons license. 

Distinct Contributions of Astrocytes and Pericytes to Neuroinflammation Identified in a 3D Human Blood-Brain Barrier on a Chip

Herland A, van der Meer AD, FitzGerald EA, Park T-E, Sleeboom JJF, Ingber DE. PLoS ONE. 2016; 11(3): e0150360. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150360  

Excerpt from Figure 1. Low magnification micrograph of an entire microfluidic  device containing a lumen filled with blue fluid (bar, 3 mm). 

Excerpt from Figure 2. Fluorescence confocal micrographs of the engineered brain microvessel viewed from the top. The fluorescence micrographs show the cell distributions in 3D BBB chips containing brain microvascular endothelium (Cell Systems ACBRI 376) with prior plating of brain pericytes (Cell Systems ACBRI 499) on the surface of the gel in the central lumen (D) or endothelium with brain astrocytes embedded in the surrounding gel (G) (bars, 200 μm). Green indicates F-actin staining, blue represents Hoechst-stained nuclei, and magenta corresponds to VE-Cadherin staining, except for G where morphology and intensity masks were used to discriminate astrocytes (green) from endothelial cells (magenta). Modified from original publication with permission of authors; distributed under Creative Commons license.



  1. Hofmann A, Ritz U, Verrier S, Eglin D, Alini M, Fuchs S, Kirkpatrick CJ, Rommens PM. Biomaterials. 2008; 29(31): 4217.
  2. Wagner I, Materne EM,Brincker S, Subbier U, Fradich C, Busek M, Sonntag F, Sakharov DA, Trushkin EV, Tonevitsky AG, Lauster R, Marx U. Lab on a Chip. 2013; 13: 3538.
  3. Kim K, Ohashi K, Utoh R, Kano K, Okano T. Biomaterials. 2012; 33(5): 1406.
  4. Dolznig H, Rupp C, Puri C, Haslinger C, Schweifer N, Wieser E, Kerjaschki D, Garin-Chesa P. American Journal of Pathology. 2011; 179(1): 487.