Trip to Tissue Culture Lab, IoS, Uitm Shah Alam (Part 1)

In the last October 2014, I made a short visit to Tissue Culture Lab in Institute of Science, Uitm Shah Alam. The purpose of the visit is to get myself introduced with the lab facilities before started my PhD-related work there. I also got to meet  the person that I am collaborating with,  Puan Mazatulikhma Mat Zain. She is the scientist that helped me with the project where they practically use neuroblastoma cell lines. Puan Mai is a very humble, nice and helpful person and very easy to work with.

Unfortunately, I cannot share my touring pictures with you because they were all crashed, I will post it later in my next entry in Part 2 ;). So below I will explain more about the cells that I am working with, which is neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell lines. According to literature, the cells were derived from embryonic central nervous system (CNS) tissue. When culturing the cells, they can be both adhering and floating cells, but mostly in studies  the adherent cells are utilised while the floating ones were discarded. The use of cells was quite limited because once the cells reached its maturity, they can no longer be propogated. The uniqueness about this cell is that it can be transformed into neuronal-like lines when induced with retinoic acid (RA) or Vitamin A derivative. Having these two different cell phenotypes will help us broaden our research whereby comparison of these cells can be made.


Picture 1

The picture above showed the undifferentiated version of SH-SY5Y cell, where the phenotype corresponds as the “N” type (neuroblast-like cells). The cells have tendency to grow in clusters and may form rounded cells on to of another (showed with arrow).


Picture 2

Upon addition of RA, the cells begin to show “S” type shape (epithelial-like cells), and they do not form cluster as the undifferentiated version. The shape is more pyramidal and neurites begin to extend. Retinoic acid is known to possess the most powerful cellular differentiation-promoting properties.

More explanation will be included later on how we can utilized these cells of cancer research activities.



J. Kovalevich and D. Langford. 2013. Consideration for the use of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells in neurobiology. Neuronal Cell Culture. Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 1078, 2013, pp 9-211078:9-21.