2D cell culture systems grow cells on a monolayer culture flask or flat dishes, typically made of plastic. The cells are put onto coated surfaces where they adhere and grow in confluency. However, there are some disadvantages when doing 2D culture.
Lack of in vivo representation
- cell-cell communication and extracellular environment interactions are important during cell culture. These interactions are responsible for cell expansion, expression of genes and proteins, proliferation, differentiation, and more.
Lack of predictivity
- Morphology of the cells is altered after isolation from the source. This in turn can affect the cell’s function and some may lose their polarity. Cell testing for drug discovery and clinical trials isn’t always predictive, resulting in failed experiments.
Unlimited access to culture media ingredients
- Availability of nutrients and oxygen in cell culture are varied. Some cells prefer hypoxic conditions or normal conditions. This creates a lack in optimum microenvironment conditions.
- When thinking of manufacturing cells for clinical trials, 2D systems can’t increase in volume but instead can only be done in multiplying the number of systems used. There is a lack of linearity and contamination risk is at a high
Despite these disadvantages, 2D cell cultures are still used for most cell cultures. Reasons include:
- When Harrison carried out first cell cultures for nerve fibers origin research in the 1900s, the method has been then improved and gained acceptance in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Since 2D culture has been around for some time, there are a lot of conducted studies for easier result comparison vs. previous results or studies.
- 2D cell culture is taught for everyone involved in lab work whether be it microbial or adherent.
Easier cell observation and measurement
- 2D cell cultures are typically easier to analyze than some 3D cell culture systems.