Design and application of NMR‐compatible bioreactor circuits for extended perfusion of high‐density mammalian cell cultures

R. J. Gillies, J. ‐P Galons, K. A. McGovern, P. G. Scherer, Y. ‐H Lien, C. Job, R. Ratcliff, F. Chapa, S. Cerdan, B. E. Dale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


MR spectroscopy of cultured cells allows non‐invasive analyses of the metabolism of cells with specific phenotypes under defined conditions. This technique can be used to investigate the intracellular metabolism of cells or extended to critically evaluate phenomena observed by in vivo MRS. In this paper, a cell maintenance system is described which allows MR analyses with unparalleled spectral resolution, S/N and stability. This system consists of a 25 mm diameter hollow fiber bioreactor and a supporting circuit. The hollow fiber reactor was chosen because it yields a large filling factor which can be perfused through defined volumes. The fibers were 300 μm diameter microporous (0.2 μm) cellulose acetate/cellulose nitrate membranes with high porosity, which allow bulk convective flow throughout the extracapillary space. This flow (Starling flow) is necessary to disrupt steady‐state gradients in substrates and waste products. In many respects, the design of the supporting circuit is more important than the bioreactor itself, since it provides the reactor with the proper chemical and physical environment. Hence, this circuit can be applied to a variety of bioreactor configurations. The circuit consists of a hollow fiber oxygenator and a bleed‐and‐feed system housed in a temperature‐controlled cabinet. Culture of mammalian cells in this reactor yields 31P spectra which have excellent spectral and temporal resolution. At confluence, endogenous 31P line widths were typically <10 Hz (at 162 MHz) and well resolved spectra were obtained in <30 s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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