Technical Guide: Basement Membrane Basics

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Technical Guide: Basement Membrane Basics

Substrates that mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) in culture are imperative for robust cell growth, optimal cell health, and as a method to direct cell behavior and structural formation for in vitro cell cultures.

Cultrex® Basement Membrane Extracts (BME) are a soluble form of basement membrane purified from Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) tumor. It is used to promote and maintain a differentiated phenotype of cell cultures such as epithelial cells, endothelial cells, glandular cells, neurons, and smooth muscle cells. BME can also be utilized in cell attachment, neurite outgrowth, angiogenesis, in vitro cell invasion and in vivo tumorigenicity assays.

Working with these substrates can be complex and need to be optimized to your specific cell culture application. Understanding the principles and protocols for these substrates is key to your cell culture success.

This technical guide uses Cultrex BME as a model substrate to outline applications, technical tips, and protocols for working with basement membrane extracts (BMEs) or extracellular matrices (ECMs) in cell culture. After reading this guide you will learn:

  • The basic elements and applications of BME and ECM proteins
  • Basic handling principles for working with Cultrex BMEs and ECMs
  • Methods for coating or embedding for culturing stem cells, spheroids, and organoids
  • How to determine the correct coating method for your desired cell culture
  • Protocols for different coating methods using Cultrex BME that you can implement immediately

Additional Resources:

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