A non-destructive method of collecting cultured cells after identifying their in situ functional characteristics is proposed. In this method, cells are cultivated on an alginate layer in a culture dish and released by spot application of a calcium chelate buffer that locally melts the alginate layer and enables the collection of cultured cells at the single-cell level. Primary hippocampal neurons, beating human embryonic stem (hES) cell-derived cardiomyocytes, and beating hES cell-derived cardiomyocyte clusters cultivated on an alginate layer were successfully released and collected with a micropipette. The collected cells were recultured while maintaining their physiological function, including beating, and elongated neurites. These results suggest that the proposed method may eventually facilitate the transplantation of ES- or iPS-derived cardiomyocytes and neurons differentiated in culture.
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