Named for the Roswell Park Memorial Institute where it was developed by Moore et al, RPMI 1640 media are optimized for culturing non-adherent cell types, including lymphocytes and other blood cell lines. RPMI 1640 is a balanced salt solution (BSS) based on the RPMI 1630 series of media. It utilizes a bicarbonate buffering system to maintain a neutral pH and contains alterations to the amount of amino acids and vitamins from RPMI 1630 media. RPMI 1640 media lack the proteins, lipids, or growth factors that some cell lines need to grow and proliferate, and may need to be supplemented with fetal bovine serum (FBS).
Traditionally, RPMI 1640 has been used for the growth of human lymphocytes and the serum-free expansion of human lymphoid cells. When properly supplemented, RPMI 1640 has demonstrated wide applicability for the cultivation of many types of mammalian cells including blood cells, such as monocytes and fresh human lymphocytes, and cancer cells, such as HeLa and Jurkat cell lines. Its versatility also makes it a suitable basal medium for cell culture in the lab and for various research applications, such as vaccine development, drug discovery, and cell-based therapies.
DMEM (Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium) and RPMI are two commonly used mammalian culture media, but they have several key differences. RPMI 1640 Medium is the only media that contains the reducing agent glutathione and high concentrations of vitamins and choline. It also contains vitamin B12, biotin, and PABA, which are not found in DMEM.
Another distinction between the two media is that they are formulated for different types of cell culture. DMEM is used to culture adherent cells, grown on surfaces such as plastic or glass, whereas RPMI 1640 is used to culture mammalian cells in suspension culture.
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