Inhibitors formed by a monkey epithelial cell line, BSC-1, play an important role in limiting growth at high cell densities. At least three inhibitors are formed: lactic acid, ammonia, and an unidentified inhibitor that may be an unstable protein. The unidentified inhibitor is destroyed by shaking the conditioned medium, by bubbling gas through the medium, or by heating or storing the medium in the absence of cells. The concentrations of lactic acid and ammonia that accumulate in conditioned medium inhibit growth when added to fresh medium. These results, together with earlier studies, indicate that density-dependent regulation of growth of BSC-1 cells results from the combined effects of (a) inhibitors formed by the cells, (b) decreased availability of receptor sites for serum growth factors as the cells become crowded, and (c) limiting concentrations of low molecular weight nutrients in the medium. In contrast, density-dependent regulation of growth in 3T3 mouse embryo fibroblasts results almost entirely from inactivation of serum factors.
Holley, R. W., Armour, R., & Baldwin, J. H. (1978). Density dependent regulation of growth of BSC-1 cells in cell culture: growth inhibitors formed by the cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 75(4), 1864–1866. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.75.4.1864