Animal cell lines

Animal cell lines are an essential component of research in the field of cell biology and biomedicine: Researchers are able to employ animal cells to study a wide variety of disease pathways and evaluate innovative treatments in animal models before translating the findings of these studies to human patients because animal models are more closely analogous to human systems.

What are animal cells?

The most basic and fundamentally functioning unit of life in animals is the animal cell. It is the fundamental building block of the reproductive process. They are referred to as eukaryotic cells. This indicates that animal cells, in contrast to prokaryotic cells, include membrane-bound organelles that are suspended in the cytoplasm and are surrounded by a plasma membrane.

When microscopy was established in the 17th century, the first animal cells were examined for the first time. Even though he did it using samples from plant cork, the English natural philosopher Robert Hooke was the first person to describe tiny holes, which he subsequently referred to as cells.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a scientist from the Netherlands, was also able to see cells via the lens of a microscope. He was the first person to characterize the red blood cells and sperm cells of animals and humans, in addition to the single-celled species such as prokaryotic cells and protozoa.

Differences to plant cells

However, plant cells also have this essential property in common with animal cells. Eukaryotic cells are found in both animal cells and plant cells, hence, a plant cell also has this property. The existence of a cell wall, on the other hand, makes it possible to recognize plant cells as distinct from animal cells. In addition to this, plastids, namely chloroplasts, which are essential to the process of photosynthesis in plants are absent from animal cells.


Model Systems

The cultivation of animal cells offers an excellent model system for the investigation of fundamental aspects of cellular biology and metabolism.

Animal cell culture has been employed in research as a 2D and 3D culture model for a variety of investigations relating to the study of infectious agents and pharmaceuticals.

In addition, a crucial advantage of using an animal cell line for research is, that the use of experimental animal models can be reduced.

Toxicity Testing

The use of animal cell cultures as an alternative to animal testing in the toxicity assessment of novel medications, chemicals, and cosmetics is becoming more common. The kidney and the liver are the primary organs from which animal cell cultures are produced and employed in this field.

Cell-based Manufacturing

Animal cell cultures have the potential to be used for the mass generation of viruses that may then be utilized in the manufacturing of vaccines. Numerous vaccinations, such as those for polio, rabies, measles, chickenpox, and hepatitis B, have benefited from the use of this tactic.

In addition to the creation of viruses, animal cell culture has the potential to be used in the manufacturing of genetically modified items with both commercial and medicinal applications. Products may come in a variety of forms, including monoclonal antibodies, insulin, hormones, and so on.

Drug Screening and Development

Assays that are based on animal cell cultures are becoming an increasingly important part of the pharmaceutical business. Not only are they utilized for toxicity testing, but also for high throughput screening of potential drugs.

Cancer Research

In the field of cancer, animal cell cultures have been used for the purposes of biomarker and molecular research. Additionally, cancer cells grown in culture have the potential to act as test models for a variety of different anticancer drugs.

Recent research in the field of cancer is looking ahead to finding ways to eliminate cancer cells selectively in populations that also include normal primary cells.


In order to circumvent the need for animal testing, the replication of viruses has sometimes made use of animal cell culture. These reproduced viruses may be used for the manufacturing of vaccines, as well as for the isolation and investigation of fundamental viruses.

Genetic Engineering

The concept of rewriting one's genes so that they generate different proteins is at the heart of genetic engineering.

The capacity to introduce additional genetic material into cells is referred to as transfection. Animal cell cultures may be subjected to transfection in order to generate a substantial quantity of novel proteins for the purposes of clinical research or medical treatment.

Gene Therapy

Because we now know that animal cell cultures may be used for genetic engineering, we also know that genetically modified cells can be utilized for therapeutic purposes.

A patient's cells may be removed and then replaced with created cells that have the required functional gene. This procedure is called ex vivo gene therapy. A viral vector might be used to insert the missing gene into the cells of the patient as an alternate treatment method.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell research and stem cell therapeutic applications have both made use of animal cell cultures of stem cells.

In particular, mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells have been used in both fields. Research on induced pluripotent stem cells has also made use of animal cell cultures consisting of somatic cells from different animals.

Replacement of Tissues or Organs:

Animal cell culture has the potential to serve as a substitute for organs or tissues. This method, for instance, may be used to manufacture artificial skin, which can then be used to heal individuals who have burns or ulcers.

On the other hand, there is an ongoing study on the cultivation of artificial organs such as the liver, kidney, and pancreas. Both embryonic and adult stem cell cultures are the subjects of current study and technology development in the field of organ culture.

Most common animal cell lines in research


This thyroid cell line was derived from the normal thyroid glands of Fischer rats aged 5 to 6 weeks. FRTL-5 is a clonal line of continuously cultivated FRTL cells that resulted from many rounds of clonal isolation. The cells preserve highly differentiated thyroid characteristics, including thyroglobulin secretion and iodide concentration.

FRTL-5 cells have been used as assays for assessing the stimulatory activity of human autoantibodies from Graves' disease patients. Typically develop in three-dimensional structures, with no monolayer formation.

RAW 264.7

RAW 264.7 is a macrophage cell line that was produced from a tumor that was present in a male mouse that had been infected with the Abelson murine leukemia virus.

BHK-21 clone 13

BHK-21 cells (from baby hamster kidney) are cells produced from immortalized kidney cells of a one-day-old hamster. They are employed for a variety of purposes, including the creation of recombinant proteins and the cultivation of some viruses.


Vero cells were obtained by removing kidney epithelial cells from an African green monkey and isolating those cells (Chlorocebus sp.; formerly called Cercopithecus aethiops, this group of monkeys has been split into several different species). It was on March 27, 1962, at Chiba University in Chiba, Japan, when Yasumura and Kawakita established the lineage. 

Vero cells are used for a wide variety of purposes, including screening for the toxin of Escherichia coli, as host cells for developing viruses and as host cells for eukaryotics parasites.


Generated from the normal subcutaneous areolar and adipose tissue of a male C3H/An mouse, this cell line is employed as a target in TNF detection experiments


The Colon-26 cell line is derived from a colon cancer and can be used in research to model colon carcinoma


C2C12 is an immortalized myoblast cell line derived from mice. The C2C12 cell line is a subclone of myoblasts obtained in 1977 at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel by Yaffe and Saxel. 

C2C12 cells, which were created for in vitro investigations of myoblasts separated from the intricate interactions of in vivo circumstances, are important for biomedical research.


The kidney tissue of a normal adult female cocker spaniel was used to separate MDCK (NBL-2) cells for study. TMDCK (NBL-2) is a compound that is used in toxicology and industrial biotechnology research.


The ascites of an adult female mouse that had reticulum cell sarcoma provided the starting material for the isolation of the J774A.1 cell line in 1968. Research in immunology may benefit from the use of this cell line.


NIH/3T3 is a fibroblast cell line that was obtained from an NIH/Swiss embryo that was taken from a mouse. This cell line has been shown to be particularly valuable in DNA transfection research due to its high level of sensitivity to the development of sarcoma virus foci and the proliferation of leukemia virus.

3T3-Swiss albino

The term "3T3 cells" refers to numerous different cell lines derived from embryonic fibroblasts of mice. George Todaro and Howard Green, two researchers working in the Department of Pathology at the New York University School of Medicine in 1962, were responsible for the creation of the first 3T3 cell line, which was derived from the 3T3-Swiss albino mouse strain.


CHO cells, abbreviated from Chinese Hamster Ovary, is an immortalised cell line from the ovaries of the Chinese dwarf hamster (Cricetulus griseus), which is used in cell biology and biotechnology for the production of recombinant proteins.


In insect cell culture, Sf9 cells, which are a clonal isolation of Spodoptera frugiperda Sf21 cells (IPLB-Sf21-AE), are often used for the generation of recombinant proteins utilizing baculovirus. Ovarian tissue served as the basis for their first development.  

They can be developed even when serum is not present, and they can be cultivated either adhering to a surface or in suspension.


The CHO-K1 cell line is a subclone that was produced from the original CHO cell line. The parental CHO cell line was established in 1957 from a biopsy taken from the ovaries of an adult female Chinese hamster.


The COS-7 cell line is one of the several varieties of COS (CV-1 in Origin with SV40 genes) cell lines that are used in modern medicine. The COS-7 cell line was first established in 1981 by Professor Yakov Gluzman. It was derived from a CV-1 African green monkey fibroblast cell line through transformation with a mutant strain of Simian Virus 40 (SV40) that encodes for the wild-type T-antigen. Professor Yakov Gluzman was the first person to establish the COS-7 cell line. In addition to its application in the research of SV40 monkey viruses, COS cell lines are also used as a common mammalian production cell for recombinant proteins including antibodies and signaling molecules.


LLC-PK1 is a cell with an epithelial appearance that was isolated from the kidney of a male pig that was between three and four weeks old. The Eli Lilly and Company banked this particular cell line.


The P3X63Ag8.653 subclone is a non-Ig-secreting or synthesising variant of the P3X63.Ag8 parent clone. Comparable to the growth parameters, fusion frequency, and hybrid stability of other myeloma lines utilized for fusions in terms of the generated hybrids.


Sp2/0-Ag14 is a non-Ig-secreting or synthesising line that was produced from a cell line that was formed by fusing a mouse BALB/c spleen cell with a mouse myeloma cell P3X63Ag8. This resulted in the creation of a new cell line.

It is resistant to 8-azaguanine at a concentration of 20 ug/ml but cannot thrive in conditions containing HAT. In this respect, it is functionally a myeloma cell line and is commonly referred to as such in the literature. It is a HAT-sensitive mouse myeloma hybrid that is ideal for use as a hybridoma fusion partner.


The E11 cell line, which is a clone of the SSN-1 cell line, is persistently infected with a C-type retrovirus (SnRV). It may be infected by a variety of piscine nodavirus strains that come from various genotypes (SJNNV, RGNNV, TPNNV and BFNNV - striped jack, red spotted grouper, tiger puffer and barfin flounder nervous necosis viruses repectively). The environment of E11 is very conducive to the infection and generation of nodavirus.


PC12 is a cell line that is developed from a pheochromocytoma of rat adrenal medulla. These cells have an embryonic origin from the neural crest and include a combination of neuroblastic cells and eosinophilic cells.