Erythropoietin production from CHO cells grown by continuous culture in a fluidized-bed bioreactor

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2002 Jan 20;77(2):194-203. doi: 10.1002/bit.10144.


A Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line that expresses human erythropoietin (huEPO) was in a 2-L Cytopilot fluidized-bed bioreactor with 400 mL macroporous Cytoline-1 microcarriers and a variable perfusion rate of serum-free and protein-free medium for 48 days. The cell density increased to a maximum of 23 x 10(6) cells/mL, beads on day 27. The EPO concentration increased to 600 U/mL during the early part of the culture period (on day 24) and increased further to 980 U/mL following the addition of a higher concentration of glucose and the addition of sodium butyrate. The EPO concentration was significantly higher (at least 2x than that in a controlled stirred-tank bioreactor, in a spinner flask, or in a stationary T-flask culture. The EPO accumulated to a total production of 28,000 kUnits over the whole culture period. The molecular characteristics of EPO with respect to size and pattern of glycosylation did not change with scale up. The pattern of utilization and production of 18 amino acids was similar in the Cytopilot culture to that in a stationary batch culture in a T-flask. The concentration of ammonia was maintained at a low level (< 2 mM) over the entire culture period. The specific rate of consumption of glucose, as well as the specific rates of production of lactate and ammonia, were constant throughout the culture period indicating a consistent metabolic behavior of the cells in the bioreactor. These results indicate the potential of the Cytopilot bioreactor culture system for the continuous production of a recombinant protein over several weeks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Ammonia / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bioreactors*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Division
  • Chromatography, Affinity / methods
  • Cricetinae
  • Culture Media
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Erythropoietin / analysis
  • Erythropoietin / biosynthesis*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Culture Media
  • Glutamine
  • Erythropoietin
  • Lactic Acid
  • Ammonia
  • Glucose