Cells can respond in vastly different ways both morphologically and metabolically depending on exposure to different environmental influences.
In tissue culture research, reliably replicating cellular environments in vivo is essential for an accurate evaluation of cell function, structure and metabolism.
Most cells in vivo are exposed to tissue type dependent O2 concentrations ranging from 5 – 80 mmHg (0.5 – 10% oxygen). By contrast, the majority of in vitro cell culture investigations are still carried out in incubators where cells are only subjected to atmospheric oxygen levels (≈21%), a hyperoxic state for most native type of cells. Conversely, the oxygen concentration “seen” by those cells in conventional incubators could be twice that found in their respective ‘natural’ tissues.
Subjecting cells to higher O2 concentrations outside of their ‘normal’ physiological range (even for a brief time) can have profound repercussions on cell metabolism and signalling pathways. For example, the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathways exceptionally demonstrate the potential for precise oxygen pressures to drastically change intra-cellular metabolism.
Furthermore, it’s important to realize that cells “react to” the partial pressure of oxygen and not just the percentage of oxygen concentration. The HypoxyLab uses this essential scientific principle and regulates the chamber ‘atmospheric composition’ using the precise partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) expressed in mmHg or kPa; because the partial pressure of oxygen varies not only with oxygen concentration but also with altitude and prevailing atmospheric pressure. This valid scientific approach significantly improves the HypoxyLab’s performance accuracy when compared to other hypoxia chambers and workstations that rely on percentage oxygen alone.
Combined with the HEPA-filtrated, uncontaminated environment, HypoxyLab supplies a precise and continuous control of O2, as well as of CO2, humidity and temperature. As such, a new and improved solution is available to academic and industry professionals looking to more accurately and controllably replicate the characteristic physiological environments in cell-based investigations.