Primary research publications

2D vs. 3D cultures

Mesenchymal stromal cells are being explored in potential therapies for tissue regeneration and repair. However, researchers are facing challenges in maintaining MSC viability when transplanted in vivo. In this study, the authors found that compared to cells cultured in 2D. MSCs cultured in 3D showed differences in cell death and autophagy related signaling and were more therapeutic effective when transplanted in a mouse model of colitis. These studies demonstrate that an important use for 3D cultures in enhancing viability of cells used in therapeutic applications.

Regmi, S. et al.

Enhanced viability and function of mesenchymal stromal cell spheroids is mediated via autophagy induction

There are several standardized tests used to identify carcinogens, but can result in false negatives because these tests may not adequately detect metabolic conversion of chemicalsto a genotoxic and carcinogenic compound. In this latest study, 3D but not conventional 2D assays of HepG2 cells show differences in metabolic activity and genotoxic effects to the chemical urethane.These studies indicate that 3D cultures may be an important approach for testing carcinogens.

Shah, U-K. et al

Detection of urethane-induced genotoxicity in vitro using metabolically competent human 2D and 3D spheroid culture models

This paper describes a microplate assay to measure the effects of drugs on tumor spheroid cultures using quantitative imaging techniques in a variety of cell lines. This study compares drug efficacy in 3D vs. 2D cultures.

Vinci, A et al.

Advances in establishment and analysis of three dimensional tumor spheroid-based functional
assays for target validation and drug evaluation

This paper talks about drug resistance of MEK inhibitors and doxorubicin in 3D vs. 2D cultures of breast cancer cell lines.

Li, Q et al.

Three-Dimensional Overlay Culture Models of Human Breast Cancer Reveal a Critical Sensitivity to Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase Inhibitors


This paper characterizes components found in Matrigel, a commonly used matrix for 3D cultures.

Hughes, C.S et al.

Matrigel: A complex protein mixture required for optimal
growth of cell culture

This paper characterizes breast spheroids grown in collagen and describes how collagen is reorganized during culture.  Effects of stromal cells are also described.

Dhimolea, E. et al.

The role of collagen reorganization on mammary epithelial morphogenesis in
a 3D culture model

3D co-cultures

This paper describes effects of fibroblast co-culture with 4T1 mammary tumor cells in Matrigel.
Liyuan, Li and Yi Lu.
Optimizing a 3D Culture System to Study the Interaction between Epithelial
Breast Cancer and Its Surrounding Fibroblasts