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The serial cultivation of human diploid cell strains
The isolation and characterization of 25 strains of human diploid fibroblasts derived from fetuses are described. Routine tissue culture techniques were employed. Other than maintenance of the diploid karyotype, ten other criteria serve to distinguish these strains from heteroploid cell lines. These include retention of sex chromatin, histotypical differentiation, inadaptability to suspended culture, non-malignant characteristics in vivo, finite limit of cultivation, similar virus spectrum to primary tissue, similar cell morphology to primary tissue, increased acid production compared to cell lines, retention of Coxsackie A9 receptor substance, and ease with which strains can be developed. Survival of cell strains at - 70 °C with retention of all characteristics insures an almost unlimited supply of any strain regardless of the fact that they degenerate after about 50 subcultivations and one year in culture. A consideration of the cause of the eventual degeneration of these strains leads to the hypothesis that non-cumulative external factors are excluded and that the phenomenon is attributable to intrinsic factors which are expressed as senescence at the cellular level. With these characteristics and their extremely broad virus spectrum, the use of diploid human cell strains for human virus vaccine production is suggested. In view of these observations a number of terms used by cell culturists are redefined.