The main difference between adherent cells and suspension cells is that adherence cells are cells that are grown attached to a solid surface such as a flask or a petri dish supplemented with a culture medium, whereas suspension cells are grown suspended in a liquid medium either as single cells or as free-floating clumps.
Cell culture or tissue culture is the process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside of their natural environment. There are two cell culture techniques to grow cells: artificial substrate (adherent culture) or free-floating in a culture medium (suspension culture).
Key areas Covered
1. What are Adherent Cells
– Definition, Location, Features
2. What are Suspension Cells
– Definition, Location, Features
3. Difference Between Adherent Cells and Suspension Cells
– Comparison of Key Differences
Adherent Cells, Suspension Cells
What are Adherent Cells
Adherent cells are a type of cells that require attachment to a substrate or a surface for their growth and proliferation. Many vertebrate-derived cells can undergo culturing and require a 2-D monolayer to facilitate cell adhesion and spreading. These cells typically originate from the tissues that form adherent structures such as bone, skin, and muscle. These types of cells are useful in cell culture experiments as they provide an easily accessible and manipulatable model for the study of cell behaviour and disease processes.
Adherent cells are attached to the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is a complex network of proteins and carbohydrates that surrounds and supports cells. The function of the extracellular matrix is to provide adherent cells with important signals that regulate their growth, differentiation, and migration. These signals can be mediated through a variety of signalling pathways, including receptor tyrosine kinases, integrins, and G protein-coupled receptors.
Furthermore, adherent cells can be classified based on their morphology and function. For example, fibroblasts are elongated and spindle-shaped cells that produce the ECM components collagen and fibronectin. Meanwhile, the tightly-packed epithelial cells form sheets that line the body surfaces and cavities. They play a critical role in maintaining barrier function and protecting the body from external threats.
Adherence cells have a wide range of applications, especially in biomedical research and drug development. They are useful in cell culture experiments to study cell signalling, gene expression, and disease mechanisms. Adherence cells are also useful in the field of regenerative medicine to repair damaged tissues and organs.
What are Suspension Cells
Suspension cells are a type of cells that are not anchored to a substrate or a surface. Instead, they are suspended in a fluid medium. These cells have the ability to grow and divide freely in the suspension. These types of cells are generally present in the lymphatic system, blood, and bone marrow. They perform important functions involving immunity and blood cell production. Some examples of suspension cells are white blood cells (leukocytes), red blood cells (erythrocytes), and platelets(thrombocytes).
There are many distinguishable characteristics of suspension cells. Suspension cells are usually smaller and more round than adherent cells. They also have flexible cell membranes. These cell membranes allow them to change shape as they move through the bloodstream. Suspension cells also contain structures with special features. Examples of such structures are haemoglobin in red blood cells and granules in certain types of white blood cells. These structures perform specific functions.
Moreover, suspension cells are helpful in research involving biomedicine and drug development. They are especially useful in the study of cell signalling, gene expression, and disease mechanisms.
Suspension cells also help in biomanufacturing and bioprocessing to produce products like antibodies, recombinant proteins, and vaccines. In biomanufacturing, suspension cells are more useful than adherent cells because suspension cells can grow in large-scale suspension cultures, which are easier to automate than adherent cultures.
Difference Between Adherent Cells and Suspension Cells
Adherent cells refer to the cells that grow attached to a solid surface, such as a flask or a petri dish supplemented with a culture medium, whereas suspension cells refer to cells grown suspended in a liquid medium, either as single cells or as free-floating clumps.
Moreover, adherent cells are usually present in tissues that form a layer or have a structure, such as epithelial cells, fibroblasts, and endothermal cells. However, suspension cells are present in tissue that is more fluid, such as blood, lymph, and bone marrow.
Additionally, adherent cells are typically easier to manipulate and observe under a microscope as they do not move. In contrast, suspension cells are more difficult to observe and manipulate due to their mobility in the liquid medium.
Adherent cells have a flatter and longer shape, while suspension cells are often more round or irregular.
In brief, adherent cells and suspension cells are two different types of cells based on their characteristics and behaviour in cell culture systems. Adherence cells grow attached to a solid surface, such as a flask or a petri dish supplemented with a culture medium, whereas suspension cells grow suspended in a liquid medium, either as single cells or as free-floating clumps. Thus, this is the main difference between adherent cells and suspension cells is that
1. “Adherent cells of Capsaspora owczarzaki (filasterea)” By Multicellgenome Lab – (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “MESC EBs” By Stemcellscientist – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia