Growth requirements of endothelial cells in culture: Variations in serum and amino acid concentrations

Linda Gorman, L. Preston Mercer, Bernhard Hennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Endothelial cell growth in vitro is limited to the availability of nutrients from commercially available media and added serum. Nutrients, such as amino acids, are chiefly derived from the cell culture medium, rather than from added serum, and optimal endothelial cell growth may be dependent on amino acid levels in the culture media. To test this hypothesis, porcine pulmonary artery-derived endothelial cells were exposed to culture medium 199 (M199), amino acid-deficient M199 (dM199), as well as dM199 supplemented with amino acids. Cell protein was similar in cells cultured for 3 d in M199 supplemented with 1, 3, 5 or 10% bovine calf serum, respectively. Addition of amino acid solutions (L amino acids [Laa], DL-amino acids [DLaa], 2Laa, or Laa+glutamine) to dM199 demonstrated a cell dependence for optimal growth on the type of amino acids as well as on the total available nitrogen in the media. Compared with M199, dM199 supplemented with Laa only partially supported long-term growth of endothelial cells in culture. On the other hand, dM199 supplemented with either 2Laa, DLaa, or Laa+ glutamine was superior over M199 with regard to endothelial cell growth. The addition of Laa+glutamine to dM199 was most growth-supporting, with an increase of over 2.6-fold in total cell protein compared with cells cultured with M199. These results suggest that, in addition to the presence of essential amino acids, total available nitrogen in culture media may be a critical factor for optimal endothelial cell growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-270
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by Grant lPO1 HL36552 from the National Institutes of Health and the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • amino acids
  • cell culture medium
  • endothelial cells
  • serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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