Publications & Reports

Some biochemical properties of human lymphoblastoid Namalwa cells grown anaerobically.

F Vaillant, B E Loveland, P Nagley, A W Linnane


Using cultured lymphoblastoid Namalwa cells, we have demonstrated that humans cells can be grown for long periods in the absence of oxygen. Such anaerobic growth occurs at the same rate as that of aerobic cultures, but is characterized by a strict dependence on pyruvate. Cells in anaerobic culture undergo a severe loss of mitochondrial cytochromes, that is reversible on reaeration. Anaerobically grown cells show a two-fold increase in glucose consumption, consistent with anaerobic glycolysis providing the source of ATP for cellular maintenance and growth. The requirement for pyruvate is explained by the necessity for these cells to re-oxidise NADH derived from metabolic reactions. Detailed study of anaerobically grown human cells provides a new framework for investigating tissues depleted in mitochondrial functions, as occurs in mitochondrial diseases and the ageing process.


  • Journal: Biochemistry international
  • Published: 01/02/1991
  • Volume: 23
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 571-580