Efficient transfection method for primary cells

Tissue Eng. 2002 Apr;8(2):235-45. doi: 10.1089/107632702753725003.


Transfection of primary cells and stem cells is a problem in the laboratory routine and further in tissue engineering and gene therapy. Most methods working effectively for cell lines in culture fail to transfect primary cells. Here we describe the use of the Nucleofector technology developed by amaxa biosystems. We were able to transfect primary human melanocytes, human coronary smooth muscle cells, human chondrocytes, and human mesenchymal stem cells with high efficiencies (28.9-45.3%). All primary cell types failed to be transfected satisfactorily by methods based on liposome-mediated transfection in our hands. The viability of the transfected cells varied between 11.2% and 75% in comparison to untreated cells. Only 200,000 cells per transfection sample were needed. In summary, this method presents an effective and fast mean for transfection of primary and stem cells demonstrated by four cell types which are only transfected with low efficiency by other methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival
  • Chondrocytes / cytology
  • Chondrocytes / physiology
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Melanocytes / physiology
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Transfection / instrumentation
  • Transfection / methods*