Feeder Layer Cell Actions and Applications Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2015

start page

  • 345

end page

  • 353


  • 4


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1937-3368

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1937-3376


  • Cultures of growth-arrested feeder cells have been used for years to promote cell proliferation, particularly with low-density inocula. Basically, feeder cells consist in a layer of cells unable to divide, which provides extracellular secretions to help another cell to proliferate. It differs from a coculture system because only one cell type is capable to proliferate. It is known that feeder cells support the growth of target cells by releasing growth factors to the culture media, but this is not the only way that feeder cells promote the growth of target cells. In this work, we discuss the different mechanisms of action of feeder cells, tackling questions as to why for some cell cultures the presence of feeder cell layers is mandatory, while in some other cases, the growth of target cells can be achieved with just a conditioned medium. Different treatments to avoid feeder cells to proliferate are revised, not only the classical treatments as mitomycin or -irradiation but also the not so common treatments as electric pulses or chemical fixation. Regenerative medicine has been gaining importance in recent years as a discipline that moves biomedical technology from the laboratory to the patients. In this context, human stem and pluripotent cells play an important role, but the presence of feeder cells is necessary for these progenitor cells to grow and differentiate. This review addresses recent specific applications, including those associated to the growth of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. In addition, we have also dealt with safety issues, including feeder cell sources, as major factors of concern for clinical applications.


  • embryonic stem-cells; ex-vivo expansion; marrow stromal cells; long-term culture; epithelial-cells; mitomycin-c; stem/progenitor cells; clinical-application; human keratinocytes; gamma-irradiation