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glucose concentration, pyruvate and phenol red in DMEM - (Jan/08/2012 )

Dear All
I would like to know what is the appropriate concentration of Glucose in DMEM medium for ordinary maintenance of human cancer cell lines, is it 1 g/L(5.5mM) or 4.5 g/L (25mM). Also should it contain pyruvate or not? should it contain phenol red or not?


It depends on the cells entirely, each cell type perfers its own conditions. Consult the ATCC or the ECACC for further information on the conditions for each cell line.


Totally agrees with Bob1,
Despite my lack of experience,
I read that different medium composition can cause ur adherent cells not to attach for example.


in my previous lab we all were culturing human cancer cell lines of different origin (>20 cell lines) in DMEM with low glucose (1g/L). Now when I moved to a new lab, I found that they are using DMEM/high glucose (4.5g/L, 25mM) for culturing the same cell lines. The point is that, 4.5g/L glucose mimics hyperglycemic conditions in vivo, but the low glucose (1g/L, 5.5mM) mimics the normal glucose level in vivo. So my question remains unanswered, does anyone know the rational for maintaining the cell lines in a condition that mimics hyperglycemic conditions? unfortunately people here do not the reason, and in some high impact factor journals they use high glucose (
comments are appreciated


There is no rationale for maintaning cells in high glucose, unless that is what the cells were originally cultured in; in which case, culturing them in low glucose would potentially cause a genetic drift sort of effect as the cells become adjusted to the low glucose. I think you will find that people typically culture their cells in whatever medium they are used to, without thinking about it too much.

Regards phenol red: Some cell lines express oestrogen receptors, which as phenol red is an oestrogen analogue (albeit weak), causes internalization of the receptor and a corresponding decrease in the growth rate of the cells, in theory at least.


I was searching if there was any publication stating that they were maintaining the cells in high glucose medium, I was surprised to find it in some high impact factor journals:
any comment?


That's a good question. I don't have the answer but I found this info from Sigma, which may be helpful for you to understand the function of glucose and pyruvate in culture medium. It's basic biochemistry.