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The Evolution of Polystyrene as a Cell Culture Material: A Brief History

Published

Author(s)

Max J. Lerman, Josephine Lembong, Shinichiro Muramoto, John G. Gillen, John P. Fisher

Abstract

Polystyrene (PS) has brought in vitro cell culture from its humble beginnings to the modern era, propelling dozens of research fields along the way. This review discusses the development of the material, fabrication, and treatment approaches to create the culture material. However, native PS surfaces poorly facilitate cell adhesion and growth in vitro. To overcome this, liquid surface deposition, energetic plasma activation, and emerging functionalization methods transform the surface chemistry. This review seeks to highlight the many potential applications of the first widely accepted polymer growth surface. Although the majority of in vitro occurs on 2D surfaces, the importance of 3D culture models cannot be overlooked. Here the methods to transition PS to specialized 3D culture surfaces are reviewed. Specifically, casting, electrospinning, 3D printing, and microcarrier approaches to shift PS to a 3D culture surface are highlighted. The breadth of applications of the material makes it impossible to highlight every use, but the aim remains to demonstrate the versatility and potential as both a general and custom cell culture surface. The review concludes with emerging scaffolding approaches and, based on the findings, present our insights on the future steps for PS as a tissue culture platform.
Citation
Tissue Engineering

Keywords

polystyrene, surface chemical modification, plasma treatment, custom fabrication, electrospinning, 3D printing

Citation

Lerman, M. , Lembong, J. , Muramoto, S. , Gillen, J. and Fisher, J. (2018), The Evolution of Polystyrene as a Cell Culture Material: A Brief History, Tissue Engineering, [online], https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEB.2018.0056 (Accessed April 22, 2021)
Created April 10, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018