Continuous cultivation of Trypanosoma brucei blood stream forms in a medium containing a low concentration of serum protein without feeder cell layers

J Parasitol. 1989 Dec;75(6):985-9.


Blood stream forms (BSF) of Trypanosoma brucei brucei GUT at 3.1 were propagated in vitro in the absence of feeder layer cells at 37 C, using a modified Iscove's medium (HMI-18). The medium was supplemented with 0.05 mM bathocuproine sulfonate, 1.5 mM L-cysteine, 1 mM hypoxanthine, 0.2 mM 2-mercaptoethanol, 1 mM sodium pyruvate. 0.16 mM thymidine, and 20% (v/v) Serum Plus (SP) (Hazleton Biologics, Lenexa, Kansas). The latter contained a low level of serum proteins (13 micrograms/ml). Each primary culture was initiated by placing 3.5-4 x 10(6) BSFs isolated from infected mice in a flask containing 5 ml of the medium (HMI-9) supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) and 10% SP. The cultures were maintained by replacing the medium every 24 hr for 5-7 days. During this period, many BSFs died. However, from day 4 onward, long slender BSFs increased in number. On days 5-7, trypanosome suspensions were pooled and cell debris was removed by means of diethylaminoethyl cellulose (DE52) column chromatography. Blood stream forms then were collected by centrifugation, resuspended in fresh medium at 7-9 x 10(5)/ml, and transferred to new flasks. Subcultures were maintained by readjusting the BSF density to 7-9 x 10(5)/ml every 24 hr. Concentrations of FBS were reduced gradually at 5-7-day intervals by alternating the amounts of FBS and SP in HMI-9 with 5% FBS and 15% SP, with 2% FBS and 18% SP, and finally with 20% SP (HMI-18). By this method, 2-3 x 10(6) VSFs/ml were obtained consistently every 24 hr. for more than 80 days.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Culture Media
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / growth & development*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Culture Media