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Cell Culture

Get what you need and increase efficiency in your live cell imaging workflow with cell and tissue culture inverted microscopes from Leica Microsystems.

These easy-to-use microscopes allow you to configure an imaging solution for your needs with flexible condenser options and digital imaging documentation features; creating a solution that is just right for your lab.

Simply get in touch!

Our experts on solutions for cell culture applications are happy to help you with their advice.

Leica cell culture microscope systems feature

  • Easy-to-use operation that requires minimal training and maintenance so you can fully concentrate on your research
  • Cool, color-safe LED illumination for constant color temperature through all stages of intensity
  • Easy fluorescence (optional) to easily visualize your fluorescent markers
  • HD imaging (optional) - connect the HD camera directly to a monitor or PC; providing high quality publication images
  • Flexible working distance up to 80 mm for accommodating slides, petri dishes, multi-well dishes, and taller flasks
  • Cell factory/hotel solution fits vessels up to 400mm tall

Find Your Personal Cell Culture Solution

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Do you use fluorescence?

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Do you need a camera?

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Which vessels do you use?

When it comes to cell cultures there are a couple of differences between the solution´s instruments. If you are looking for a cell culture solution please answer these three quick questions.

Cell Classification

The appearances of cells

Lab grown animal cells can be distinguished due to several criteria:

  • Their morphology is easy to identify in the microscope. Whereas fibroblast-like cells have a bi- or multipolar, elongated shape, epithelial-like cells show a polygonal outline. In contrast to the upper two, lymphoblast-like cells don’t grow attached to a surface but in suspension.
  • The type of a cell can be subdivided into immortalized cells, primary cells and stem cells.
  • The cell organization can range from simple 2D mono-culture through 2D co-culture, to 3D spheroids and organoids

Name

Morphology

Source

COS

Fibroblast-like

African green monkey

HEK 293

Epithelial-like

Human

CHO

Epithelial-like

Hamster

MDCK

Epithelial-like

Dog

HeLa

Fibroblast-like

Human

Jurkat

Lymphoblast-like

Human

A few examples of cell lines used in cell culture.

Cell culture materials

How to grow cells

Animal cells are cultured in all kinds of different vessels, ranging from tiny microfluidic devices used for basic research, through 96-well plates for screening, to cell culture flasks and cell factories for large scale pharmaceutical production.

Due to their disposable use, the majority of containers is made of plastic. Others are specifically adopted to microscopy applications and therefore have a glass bottom.

The medium for animal cell culture contains

  • water
  • an energy source
  • amino acids
  • vitamins
  • and salts

Moreover it includes a buffer system plus a pH indicator to check a balanced pH.

Cell culture maintenance

What is the daily work?

Since the ingredients in the culture medium are consumed by the cells, it is necessary to renew it regularly. On this occasion cell cultures should undergo a visual check for confluency, healthiness and to detect potential microbiological contamination.

A characteristic of immortalized cell lines is their indefinite growth. That’s why they have to be split up once in a while (Passaging) and transferred to separate culture vessels.

Commonly, cultured cells are genetically modified before using them for an experiment. With the help of transfection, researchers e.g. add fluorescent markers to their protein of interest in order to visualize it with a microscope.

Microscopes – Basic Requirements

What tool do I need?

To manage the daily work of a cell culture lab a microscope is needed. This microscope has to have an inverse configuration. Such an inverted microscope features the objective below and the condenser above the specimen, enabling a near enough proximity of the objective to the cells and a large working distance above.

Due to the very low intrinsic contrast of animal cells, a cell culture microscope has to deliver contrast methods such as phase contrast. DIC (Differential Interference Contrast) doesn’t help here, since it can’t be applied together with the plastic vessels used in cell culture. A very good alternative for DIC is IMC (Integrated Modulation Contrast), which works with plastic containers and in addition doesn’t need special objectives or prisms. Moreover, a cell culture microscope should be easy to handle to prevent loss of time. 

Leica cell culture microscopes offer you the ease of use and the flexibility in contrast methods you need for your individual purpose.

Microscopes – Advanced Requirements

What tool do I need?

A very common cell biological approach is to transfect cells with fluorescent markers for subsequent investigation with a research microscope. If you are dealing with fluorescent proteins, also your cell culture microscope needs a fluorescence option e.g. to control transfection efficiency.

For a meaningful documentation and standardization, the microscope should feature a digital camera and ideally the ability to record and digest the acquired data.

As space is an issue in cell culture labs, a cell culture microscope shouldn’t be too big e.g. to fit under a hood. Moreover, recent trends demand microscopes which are small and robust enough to be used even inside an incubator.

Brightfield

Phase contrast

DIC

IMC

Fluorescence

Magnification

Working Distance

Camera

Leica DM IL LED

+

+

-

+

+

PH: 5x to 63x

IMC: 10x, 20x, 32x, 40x

40 mm, 80 mm

+ (free choice)

Leica DMi1

+

+

-

-

-

10x, 20x, 40x

40 mm, 50 mm, 80 mm

+ (integrated)

Microscopes dedicated to cell culture lab work.

Microscopes for large Scale Production

The production of biomaterials, for example proteins, vaccines or antibodies requires cell culture in large vessels.

To cope with this requirements, such a cell culture microscope has to feature a large working distance and field of view. Furthermore it needs a high stability to hold large vessels or even stacks of vessels securely. 

The Leica DM IL LED can be configured with an extra-long transmitted light illumination arm, giving you the free working distance you need for cell culture vessels up to a height of 40 cm.


Cell-based Assays

Live-cell applications

Cell culture is dynamic. Like any other biological system, cell growth and behavior are sometimes not easy to predict. That is why a permanent surveillance can be advantageous compared to cell culture checks at single time points.

This is were microscopes join the game which can be placed in the incubator and are able to monitor the cells around the clock. With this feature, a cell culture can be checked e.g. for confluency from any place in the world at any time. 

News

15. November 2017 Development of new integrated Cryo-Imaging solutions

CSSB and Leica Microsystems establish an Advanced light and Fluorescence Microscopy (ALFM) facility and integrated Cryo-Imaging solutions

06. November 2017 From Micro to Macro: Celebrating 20 years of Collaboration between the IGBMC and Leica Microsystems

The Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology and Leica Microsystems marked 20 years of collaboration with a day of presentations and scientific talks highlighting the successful projects emerging from the partnership.

11. October 2017 White Blood Cell Recruitment to Bacterial Infection

Zebrafish In Vivo Study Using Leica Fluorescence Microscopes

09. October 2017 See what's new from Leica Microsystems this summer

Look out for workshops taking place near you this summer, featuring our new innovations

27. September 2017 CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center opens cutting-edge microscopy platform in partnership with Leica Microsystems

MONTREAL, September 26, 2017 – CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center in Montreal has partnered with Leica Microsystems to establish a cutting-edge microscopy facility that is mutually beneficial for both the Centre and Leica.

Tile scan image of Mouse brain tissue section with multicolor immunofluorescent labeling

23. May 2017 Find the Missing Links in Advanced Live Cell Research - Leica launches DMi8 S live cell imaging solution

Wetzlar, Germany – Leica introduces the DMi8 S, a new complete solution designed to give researchers the ultimate tool for fast, versatile microscopic imaging of living cells allowing scientists to find, observe and interact with living cells like...

06. March 2017 Abberior Instruments and Leica Microsystems conclude license agreement

Common link is collaboration with Professor Stefan Hell

12. January 2017 Chronic inflammation under the microscope

This article explains how widefield light microscopy helps to examine the underlying processes of chronic inflammation from a cellular level to whole organisms.

29. April 2016 Webinar: Advances in Neuroscience: New Methods for Correlating Structure and Function

Kwanghun Chung (MIT) and Christine Ann Denny (Columbia University) will present recent advances in targeted cell labelling, tissue clearing, and fluorescence imaging methods for the study of brain function.

15. March 2016 Why Infinity-Corrected Optics Considerably Improved the Functionality of Modern Microscopes

Enjoy reading Christoph Greb’s article “Infinity Optical Systems - From infinity optics to the infinity port” published in the current issue of Optik & Photonik.