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Cell Culture Surfaces

The growth, development, and signaling of cultured cells strongly depends on the surface upon which the cells have been seeded. ibidi μ-Slides and μ-Dishes can be treated similarly to standard plastic labware, but without compromising the imaging quality. This makes them perfectly suited for cell-based assays, in combination with high resolution microscopy.

ibidi Polymer Coverslip

Human primary keratinocytes on ibiTreat

The ibidi Polymer Coverslip, which is our standard surface, is a foil-like coverslip that forms the bottom of most ibidi μ-Slides, μ-Dishes, and μ-Plates. The ibidi Polymer Coverslip meets all optical requirements for various imaging techniques, such as phase contrast, confocal fluorescence, or two-photon microscopy. The ibidi Polymer Coverslip provides a standard No. 1.5 coverslip thickness (180 µm (+10/-5 µm).

ibiTreat – Tissue Culture Treated – ibidi’s Most Recommended Surface

ibiTreat is the hydrophilic version of the ibidi Polymer Coverslip. ibiTreat is a physical surface modification that makes surfaces hydrophilic and adhesive to virtually all cell types. The surface is comparable to standard tissue culture treated flasks and Petri dishes. It was tested with a vast range of different cell lines and primary cells. Most cells grow well on ibiTreat without the need for any additional coating. The adhesion of cells to ibiTreat μ-Slides is even strong enough to perform flow experiments which simulate the physiological shear stress of the blood flow.

Hydrophobic, Uncoated

The uncoated surface does not permit direct cell growth. Due to its hydrophobicity, it can be used for specific coating procedures or for non-adherent cells. This bottom material is a hydrophobic version of the ibidi Polymer Coverslip, and has identical optical properties.

In the ibidi Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides and µ-Dishes.

Glass Bottom

ibidi offers specialized products with a borosilicate cover glass bottom. They use a standard coverslip glass for microscopy, which is D 263M Schott glass. Glass bottoms are suitable for direct cell culturing, but may require a surface coating to promote cell attachment. Glass can also be coated prior to cell seeding when using adherent cells. For the highest quality, only coverslips with a thickness range of 170 μm +/- 5 μm are used. This thickness, also known as No. 1.5H (high performance), provides the highest precision available that is necessary for modern, high-performance microscope objectives.

ibidi developed these glass surfaces especially for TIRF, single photon, and single molecule applications.

Examples are:


RAT1 cells on Collagen IV

For selected µ-Slides, ibidi offers Collagen IV and Poly-L-Lysine precoated surfaces on the ibidi Polymer Coverslip. Please contact us for more coating options.

Collagen IV

Collagen type IV is the type of collagen found primarily in the basal lamina. Collagen IV substrates have been tested for a variety of standard cell lines, such as epithelial, endothelial, nerve, and muscle cells. ibidi μ-Slides are coated with a mouse Collagen IV.

Poly-L-Lysine (PLL)

PLL is a polymer of the amino acid L-Lysine. This polymer is one of the most commonly used adhesion substrates. It is suitable for a large variety of cell types, especially for neuronal cultures. Adhesion, using this poly­mer, is mediated by an integrin-independent mechanism.

In the ibidi Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides.

ibidi also provides a high quality rat tail Collagen Type I for optimal cell attachment and for creating 3D gels.

Special Surfaces
ESS - Elastically Supported Surface

Cells on ESS can interact with the surface and deform it.

In tissue, cells grow under different conditions, such as commonly found in in vitro cell cultures. A crucial parameter that effects cell proliferation, differentiation, and overall function is the surface stiffness / elasticity. Recent research has shown significant evidence that this physical parameter must be taken into consideration. The elasticity (Young’s Modulus) of most plastics used for cell culture is around 1 GPa. Young’s Modulus of glass is approximately 70 GPa. In contrast to plastic and glass, the Young’s Modulus of mammalian cells (e.g., muscle cells) is below 100 kPa. Therefore, the natural cell environment is at least 100,000 times more elastic.

The ibidi elastically supported surface ESS (as used in the µ-Dish 35 mm, high ESS) is comparable to cells and tissue elasticities. It is available in three different elasticities: 1.5 kPa, 15 kPa, and 28 kPa. These three different elasticities cover the whole range of elasticities that is found in tissue in vivo, from soft tissue (e.g., brain or gland) to hard tissue (e.g., cartilage or bone).

The uncoated ESS surface is hydrophobic and does not allow for any direct cell growth. For an easy cell culture, we recommend using specific, extracellular matrix coatings, such as Collagen or Fibronectin.

In our Application Note Cell Culture Coating (AN 08) you will find detailed information on how to do your own coating on µ-Slides.