Key Difference – RPMI vs DMEM
Most research studies involve animal cell culturing and thus, these studies require maintenance of animal cell lines under special growth conditions. Animal cell culturing is performed widely in pharmacological studies to identify drug metabolism, in disease diagnostics and in cancer research. The cell culture media is an important aspect of animal cell culture. Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM) and Roswell Park Memorial Institute Medium (RPMI) are two culture media used in animal cell culturing. RPMI is a media used widely to culture mammalian cells in suspension culture. DMEM is a modified type of basal medium, with increased amino acid and vitamin concentrations up to a fourfold. DMEM is used in culturing cells in adherent cultures. The key difference between the two media is the type of culture of the media. RPMI is used on suspension cultures, whereas DMEM is used to culture adherent cells.
What is RPMI?
RPMI or Roswell Park Memorial Institute Medium is also referred to as RPMI 1640. The name of the media was derived by the institute in which the media was discovered. This media is commonly used in animal cell culture, especially for the growth of mammalian cells. They were originally developed to grow human lymphocytes.
The following ingredients are included in the RPMI.
- pH indicator (phenol red)\
- Salts (sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, disodium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and calcium nitrate)
- Amino acids
- Vitamins (i-inositol, choline chloride, para-aminobenzoic acid, folic acid, nicotinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate, biotin and riboflavin, cyanocobalamin)
The special feature of RPMI is the increased concentration of phosphate in the medium. RPMI is used in a 5% Carbon dioxide atmosphere. This will provide the maximum and optimal conditions for the cell growth. The pH of the media is maintained at 8.0 by the bicarbonate buffering system.
Applications of RPMI in Cell Culturing
- Cultivation of human T and B lymphocytes, Bone marrow cells and hybridoma.
- Used to study human neoplastic cells.
What is DMEM?
Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium (DMEM) is a modified medium that is commercially prepared. The original texture of the medium powder is yellow. In DMEM, vitamin concentration is increased up to fourfold thereby increasing the nutrient content in the medium.
DMEM is also modified by adding more salts such as ferric nitrate, sodium pyruvate and some non – essential amino acids such as serine and glycine. The formulation of glucose in the media is also altered. The original formulation is composed of 1000 mg/L of glucose, whereas in DMEM, the concentration is increased up to 4500 mg/L. DMEM also requires supplementation of a serum medium as it is not a complete medium. Most often, DMEM is supplemented with Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS). FBS provides the required proteins and growth factors for the culturing process.
The pH of the medium varies upon addition of Sodium Bicarbonate. pH of the medium before adding Sodium Bicarbonate is around 6.80 – 7.40, whereas the pH after adding Sodium Bicarbonate lies in the range of 7.60 – 8.20. The storage temperature of the medium is 2 – 8 0C.
Applications of DMEM
- To study the plaque-forming ability of the polyomavirus in mouse embryonic cells.
- In contact inhibition studies.
- In research and analysis chicken cell cultures.
What are the Similarities Between RPMI and DMEM?
- Both RPMI and DMEM are used in animal cell culture.
- Both RPMI and DMEM media are liquid formulations.
- Both RPMI and DMEM media contain the essential amino acids, vitamins and inorganic salts required for growth.
- Both RPMI and DMEM media are incomplete. Therefore, serum should be added.
- Both RPMI and DMEM media use glucose as its carbon source.
- Both RPMI and DMEM media have a higher pH.
What is the Difference Between RPMI and DMEM?
RPMI vs DMEM
|RPMI is a medium used widely to culture mammalian cells in a suspension culture.||DMEM is a modified type of basal medium with increased amino acid and vitamin concentrations.|
|Presence of Extra Phosphates|
|Present in RPMI.||Absent in DMEM.|
||Used to culture cells in adherent cultures. It is used to,
|Types of Culture|
|RPMI is used for suspension cultures.||DMEM is used for cultures with cell adhered.|
Summary – RPMI vs DMEM
Both RPMI and DMEM are widely used in animal cell culturing especially to culture animal cell lines including lymphocytes in vitro. DMEM is a modified basal medium where there is an increased nutrient concentration. RPMI developed by Roswell Park Memorial Institute, and it is also a medium used in animal cell culturing especially for mammalian lymphocytes. Both media are commercially available. This is the difference between RPMI and DMEM.
1.’Cell Culture in a tiny Petri dis’By kaibara87 – originally posted to Flickr as Cell Culture, (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’DMEM cell culture medium’By Lilly_M – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia