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Antibiotics should be eliminated from cell culture as they are detrimental to cell culture, and in the presence of antibiotics, most primary cells develop at a slower pace.
Cell culture is a significant domain within itself and the medium in culture products includes nutrients that cells require to live and thrive. However, uninvited invaders frequently breach the cultures, endangering the delicate stability of the system and tainting scientific conclusions. As a result, these cultures are futile and should be eradicated. A possible solution in the opinion of many experts is employing antibiotics. These chemicals are the first line of defence against bacterial contamination.
Conventional cell culture techniques often involve the precautionary use of antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin, gentamicin, or amphotericin as media additives to reduce infection rates. However, the effects of these compounds on cultured cell metabolism, cell growth, differentiation, or gene expression are unknown. This raises the question of whether antibiotics assist to alleviate the contamination problem or create new ones.
Antibiotics’ Influence on Cell Metabolism
Recent developments in regenerative medicine and the growing use of cultured cells for therapeutic purposes have led researchers to better assess the impact of antibiotics on the metabolism and differentiation capacity of human cultured cells rather than cell lines. Few researchers have demonstrated how a combination of penicillin, streptomycin, or gentamicin can alter the human adipose-derived stem cell's development into adipocytes.
Similar issues have been identified in embryonic and mesenchymal stem cells, primary cancer cell lines, and keratinocytes. Antibiotic use can drastically affect gene expression and regulation, potentially altering the outcomes of drug responsiveness, cell cycle control, and cellular proliferation research.
The Adverse Effect of Antibiotics on Cell Cultures
Historically, traditional three-dimensional cultures of normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK) have been the standard approach in fundamental research. In 3D skin models, beta-lactam antibiotics and aminoglycosides inhibit NHEK growth and the building of differentiated epidermis. Antibiotics’ detrimental effects on mitochondrial activity will be blamed for their side effects. Endosymbiont theory states that mitochondria are of bacterial origin, and their biomolecular components are similar.
Avoid Using Antibiotics in Cell Culture
The above-stated information suggests that antibiotics should be avoided in cell culture as they are harmful to cell culture. In the presence of antibiotics, most primary cells develop at a slower pace. With a sufficient understanding of excellent laboratory procedures, it is possible to maintain the cells free from microbial contamination. Implementing all the rules of a sterile practice eliminated the need for these antibiotics. Aseptic methods such as sterile work settings, sterile chemicals and media, proper hygiene, and clean handling build a barrier between microbes present in the environment and the sterile cell culture.