Applications of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound to increase monoclonal antibody production in CHO cells using shake flasks or wavebags.

PMID 24841953


Many technologies, such as cell line screening and host cell engineering, culture media optimization and bioprocess optimization, have been proposed to increase monoclonal antibody (mAb) production in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. Unlike the existing biochemical approaches, we investigated stimulation using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) as a purely physical approach, offering enhanced scalability, contamination control and cost-efficiency, while demonstrating significantly increased cell growth and antibody production. It was found that daily ultrasound treatments at 40 mW/cm(2) for 5 min during cell culture increased the production of human anti-IL-8 antibody by more than 30% using 10 or 30 mL shake flasks. Further increasing the ultrasound dosage (either intensities or the treatment duration) did not appreciably increase cell growth or antibody production, however feeding the culture with additional highly-concentrated nutrients, glucose and amino acids (glutamine in this case), did further increase cell growth and antibody titer to 35%. Similar ultrasound treatments (40 mW/cm(2), 5 min per day) when scaled up to larger volume wavebags, resulted in a 25% increase in antibody production. Increased antibody production can be attributed to both elevated cell count and the ultrasound stimulation. Theoretical study of underlying mechanisms was performed through the simulations of molecular dynamics using the AMBER software package, with results showing that LIPUS increases cell permeability. The significance of this study is that LIPUS, as a physical-based stimulation approach, can be externally applied to the cell culture without worrying about contamination. By combining with the existing technologies in antibody production, LIPUS can achieve additional mAb yields. Because it can be easily integrated with existing cell culture apparatuses, the technology is expected to be more acceptable by the end users.