Development and morphology of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells is affected by the culture environment




Hahn, Mark S.

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The influence of the extracellular culture environment on the morphology and cytoskeletal organization of differentiated cells as typified by SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells was examined. I hypothesized that cells grown in a supportive gel that mimics the extracellular matrix will differ in morphology and cytoskeletal arrangements as compared to cells cultured on bare or collagen-coated coverslips. I used fluorescence probes in conjunction with confocal microscopy to characterize the morphology and cytoskeletal arrangement of SH-SY5Y cells grown on coverslips and within matrix culture environments. Cells grown on bare or collagen-coated coverslips typically had a flattened, undifferentiated, fibroblast-like appearance. lmmunostaining of the cytoskeleton revealed a fibrous network distribution of the respective elements. The cells grown in a gel derived from a reconstituted basement membrane matrix appeared to differentiate into multicellular ganglion-like structures with neurite projections radiating out in all directions, apparently targeting other cell clusters. The cytoskeleton of these cells appeared remarkably different being much less filamentous, but analysis was hindered because of poor antibody penetration through the gel matrix. The difference in morphology and cytoskeletal staining of the neuroblastoma cells suggests there are extensive differences in environmental cues between conventional ( coverslip) and matrix culture environments. This culture method may provide a model to characterize the differences and better understand the developmental processes and factors involved in nerve growth and regeneration.



Neuroblastoma, Cell growth, Morphology, Cell culture


Hahn, M. S. (1998). <i>Development and morphology of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells is affected by the culture environment</i> (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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