Key Difference – Cell Line vs Cell Strain vs Cell Type
The key difference between cell line, cell strain, and cell type lie in the role they play in cell culturing. Cell lines are prepared by continuous passaging of primary cell cultures, whereas a cell strain is a specific cell obtained from a cell line, and the cell type refers to the finally differentiated cell.
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of an organism. Cells are capable of proliferating and at present different cells are widely used for research purposes. There are different terminologies used in cell culturing during the research. Cell culturing is done to check the behaviour of cells under different conditions in vitro conditions. A cell line is referred to as a special preparation of cells by continuously passaging the cells obtained from the primary cell culture. A cell strain is a specifically identified cell type from a culture or a cell line. The cell strains are characterized by its unique behavioural patterns. Cell strains are extracted from cell lines. A cell type refers to the different types of cells found in an organism upon differentiation of cells.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cell Line
3. What is Cell Strain
4. What is Cell Type
5. Similarities Between Cell Line Cell Strain and Cell Type
6. Side by Side Comparison – Cell Line vs Cell Strain vs Cell Type in Tabular Form
What is Cell Line?
Cell lines are prepared by continuous passaging of cells. The cells used to obtain the cell line are extracted from a primary cell culture, upon isolating a particular cell type. Cell passaging refers to the several continuous subculturing of cells. The subculturing can be done in a two dimensional or a three-dimensional matrixes. Cell lines are used widely in research, and at present cell lines are available commercially. The most common human cell lines are cancer cell lines, liver cell lines and kidney cell lines.
Cell lines can be categorized into two types; namely, Finite cell lines and Continuous cell lines. Finite cell lines are the cell lines that are prepared by passaging the cells to a definite number of times. Routinely, after about 20 – 30 passages, a finite cell line is formed. Continuous cell lines or infinite cell lines are prepared by passaging the cells for an infinite number of times. These cell lines do not have a definite number of passages. They grow indefinitely and thus are able to acquire mutations. Therefore, continuous cell lines are easily mutated, and thus changes in its morphological and genetic characteristics can be occurred unlike in finite cell lines. Cell lines have become the choice for research as it is more convenient to use instead of primary cell culture. However, cell lines are more prone to mutations. It is a major disadvantage of using the cell lines.
What is Cell Strain?
A cell strain is referred to a particular specific cell in which the morphological and physiological features can be distinguished from other cells. A cell strain is derived from a cell line or a primary cell culture. These cells that are termed as strains have defined characteristics.
Thus, in microbial cell culturing, a species may contain different cell strains. In industrial and research fields, the most potent cell strain is selected, and thereby, biochemical tests are further done to characterize the specific cell strain.
Cell strains can be converted to finite cell lines, as they possess a finite potential to divide. Beyond a certain division, the cells are not potent to divide. Therefore, continuous or infinite cell lines cannot be prepared by cell strains.
What is Cell Type?
A cell type is a differentiated cell. Eukaryotes are higher organisms who have different cell types such as liver cells, kidney cells and brain cells. Unicellular organisms have only one cell type. Thus, the cell types are formed after the completion of cell determination and cell differentiation stages.
Cell types can be distinguished clearly using morphological, physiological and structural features of the different cell type, but can be genetically identical to each other in certain cases.
Multicellular, higher level organisms have two main cell types; Germ cells and Somatic cells. Germ cells give rise to the reproductive cells that include ova and sperms, whereas all the other cells belong to the category of somatic cells. These cells can also be stored as a cell line, upon continuous passaging of the extracted cell types.
If a differentiated cell type is passaged for several times, to obtain a cell line, then the cell line is also said to be a differentiated specific functional cell line. Most of the commercially available cell lines are of this category.
What are the Similarities Between Cell Line Cell Strain and Cell Type?
- All Cell Line, Cell Strain and Cell types are used extensively in research and industry.
- All of these can be stored for a longer time period as a cell line via continuous passaging.
What is the Difference Between Cell Line Cell Strain and Cell Type?
Cell Line vs Cell Strain vs Cell Type
|Cell Line||A cell line is referred to as a special preparation of cells by continuously passaging the cells obtained from the primary cell culture.|
|Cell Strain||A cell strain is a specifically identified cell type from a culture or a cell line. The cell strains are characterized by its unique behavioural patterns.|
|Cell Type||A cell type refers to the morphologically and phenotypically different group of cells found in an organism upon differentiation of cells.|
|Potential to Divide|
|Cell Line||Cell line has an infinite potential to divide.|
|Cell Strain||Cell strain has a finite potential to divide.|
|Cell Type||Cell type has a finite potential to divide.|
Summary – Cell Line vs Cell Strain vs Cell Type
Cell strains and cell types are differentiated specific cells with defined functional and morphological features. Both cell strains and cell types can be stored in cell lines. These cell lines are prepared by continuous passaging of the desired cells. Cell lines, types and strains are useful for research and industrial purposes. Different sources (cell line/type/ strains) are used under different conditions. These concepts can be further developed through more commercially acceptable studies of these cells. This is the difference between Cell Line Cell Strain and Cell Type.
1.“Cell Type.” Cell Type – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Available here
2.Kaur, Gurvinder, and Jannette M. Dufour. “Cell Lines Valuable Tools or Useless Artifacts.” Spermatogenesis, Landes Bioscience, 1 Jan. 2012. Available here
3.“Introduction to Cell Culture.” Thermo Fisher Scientific. Available here