Cell and tissue culture techniques have improved considerably since the first attempts to maintain explants of animal tissue in vitro. The two major developments that have allowed these improvements are the ability to produce continuous cell lines, thus allowing reproducible results to be obtained, and the definition of media for different cell types, thereby reducing the need for supplements of serum and other extraneous extracts. The requirements of islets in culture have been more difficult to define, largely because islets do not proliferate in culture and proliferation rate cannot therefore be used to measure the suitability of the medium. Further difficulties arise because islets are highly metabolically active 'mini-organelles.' Although many studies have been undertaken to try and optimize media for the culture islets of Langerhans, the media most commonly used are commercially available media developed for other cell types. There remains ample scope for further refinement of the composition of islet culture media, with the possibility of different media for islets from different species.
- Islets of Langerhans
- Tissue culture