Serum is frequently added to defined basal media as a source of certain nutrients and macromolecular growth factors essential for cell growth. The many different sera commercially available may not be equally suitable for all cell types. The effects of four sera, fetal bovine serum (FBS), calf bovine serum (CS), equine serum (ES-1), and plasma-derived equine serum (ES-2), on growth and permeability properties of cultured porcine endothelial cells were determined. The rate of DNA synthesis, measured as [3H]thymidine incorporation, reached a peak at around 24 h, regardless of serum type, and was most marked with ES-1- or ES-2-treated cells. However, when estimated by total DNA, FBS, CS, or ES-1 treatment resulted in greater cell proliferation than ES-2. Based on protein synthetic rate and total cell protein, both FBS and CS appeared to be most growth supporting. At 72 h after cell plating, albumin passage across cultured endothelial monolayers was elevated in ES-1- and ES-2-treated cells compared with FBS- or CS-treated cells. "Leaky" cell monolayers were most marked with ES-1-treated cells. Cells grown in ES-2- and particularly in ES-1-enriched media were larger and more spindle-shaped compared with the typical cobblestone appearance of cells cultured in media enriched with either FBS or CS. These data suggest that CS, but not ES-1 or ES-2, is an excellent substitute for FBS to support desirable growth properties of macrovascular endothelial cells in culture. © 1989.
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