Pigs Bladder Football


This article was written on 26 Mar 2012, and is filled under 2012, Cell Materials, Lab, News.

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Cells in Culture – week 2

I can’t control the growth of the cells, but, having obtained most of them myself from different animal tissues, and observed and facilitated their growth over several months, I feel in control now of the work which I need to do.

During the past week I have been maintaining and preparing the various cell types which I’ll be experimenting with in order to find out which are most suitable for using in the football production.

At the moment, in culture in the laboratory I have four types of cell at my disposal:

  • mouse bladder cells (mixed/specific cell types unknown) obtained from several mouse bladders using a very basic primary culture extraction protocol.

And also:

  • rat bladder cells (mixed / specific cell types unknown) – Basically, to obtain both of these types of bladder cells the entirety of the bladder tissue was chopped up in a sterile environment and then broken down using a laboratory enzyme (collagenase).  The resulting solution was then sieved and put into medium and incubated.  I attempted to use the same procedure to obtain pig bladder cells from abattoir by-products a few weeks ago and was unsuccessful, so a more advanced protocol will be needed.


  • pig bone marrow adult stem cells which were obtained from inside a pig knee bone before Christmas.  These have been proliferating quite slowly, but successfully and I was able to freeze one batch of these before Christmas.  Being multi-potent “mesenchymal” stem cells they have the potential to change into different kinds of connective tissue cell depending on the different environmental and chemical triggers.


  • some very resilient and quick growing mouse cells which I have been maintaining since the very start of my residency.  The exact history of these cells is a little unclear.  I do know that they originated from a commercially available cell line – L929 fibroblast cells – which are a type of connective tissue obtained from adipose (fat) and which had been cryogenically frozen several years before I came to the lab by a researcher called “Richard”.

I’ll be attempting to grow each of these different cell types (and others) onto various hexagon and pentagon patch shaped scaffolds over the coming months to get an idea of the material properties of this spherical structure and also, crucially, get a sense of the timeframe for completing a football.

It is appropriate that I will be beginning with the L929(R) mouse cells as I have these in the greatest number (I froze several vials of these – many million cells – before Christmas) and I have the most experience with the growth cycle of this type of cell.

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