Effect of initial cell density on hybridoma growth, metabolism, and monoclonal antibody production

Sadettin S. Ozturk, Bernhard Palsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


A murine hybridoma cell line (167.4G5.3) was cultivated in batch mode with varying inoculum cell densities using IMDM media of varying fetal bovine serum concentrations. It was observed that maximum cell concentrations as well as the amount of monoclonal antibody attainable in batch mode were dependent on the inoculum size. Specifically, cultures with lower inoculum size resulted in lower cell yield and lower antibody concentrations. However, in the range of 102 to 105 cells per ml, the initial cell density affected the initial growth rate by a factor of only 20%. Furthermore, specific monoclonal antibody production rates were independent of initial cell density and the serum concentration. Glutamine was the limiting nutrient for all the cultures, determining the extent of growth and the amount of antibody produced. Serum was essential for cell growth and cultures with initial cell concentrations up to 106 cells per ml could not grow without serum. However, when adapted, the cells could grow in a custom-made serum-free medium containing insulin, transferrin, ethanolamine, and selenium (ITES) supplements. The cells adapted to the ITES medium could grow with an initial growth rate slightly higher than in 1.25% serum and the growth rate showed an initial density dependency-inocula at 103 cells per ml grew 30% slower than those at 104 or 105. This difference in growth rate was decreased to 10% with the addition of conditioned ITES medium. The addition of conditioned media, however, did not improve the cell growth for serum-containing batches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-278
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grant No. EET-8712756. The authors thank Dr J. Latham Claflin for providing the hybridoma cell line used in this study.

Other keywords

  • Cell culture
  • Hybridoma
  • Inoculum size
  • Serum effect


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