A549 cell

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A549 cells under DIC microscopy, from a 3-4 days old culture, showing an abundance of intercellular connections, including possible cytonemes, filopodia and other epithelial bridges. (These cells have endocytosed 25x73 nm colloidal gold nanorods.)

A549 cells are adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cells, and constitute a cell line that was first developed in 1972 by D. J. Giard, et al. through the removal and culturing of cancerous lung tissue in the explanted tumor of a 58-year-old caucasian male.[1] The cells are used as models for the study of lung cancer and the development of drug therapies against it.[2][3]


A549 cells, as found in the lung tissue of their origin, are squamous and responsible for the diffusion of some substances, such as water and electrolytes, across alveoli. If A549 cells are cultured in vitro, they grow as a monolayer; adherent or attaching to the culture flask.[1] The cells are able to synthesize lecithin and contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which are important to maintain membrane phospholipids.[1] A549 cells are widely used as a type II pulmonary epithelial cell model for drug metabolism and as a transfection host.[4] When grown for a sufficiently long time in cell culture, A549 cells may begin to differentiate, as signaled by the presence of multilamellar bodies.[5]


A549 cells have served as models of alveolar Type II pulmonary epithelium, finding utility in research examining the metabolic processing of lung tissue and possible mechanisms of drug delivery to the tissue.[3] In context of lung cancer drug development, the cells have served as testing grounds for novel drugs - such as paclitaxel, docetaxel, and bevacizumab - both in vitro and in vivo through cell culture and xenografting, respectively.[6][1] Single-cell tracking of A549 has enabled the elaboration of pedigree-tree profiles and demonstrate correlations in behavior among sister cells and their descendants.[7][8] Such observations of correlations can be used as proxy measurements to identify cellular stress and inheritance as a response to drug treatment.[9] A549 has also been employed in viral research and associated protein expression changes as a consequence of viral infection.[10] Although A549 is a cancer cell line, it has also been studied for its response to tuberculosis, specifically the production of chemokines as it is induced by the invading bacteria.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "A549 Cell Line: Human alveolar adenocarcinoma cell line -General Information". Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. ^ Giard, DJ; Aaronson, SA; Todaro, GJ; Arnstein, P; Kersey, JH; Dosik, H; Parks, WP (1973). "In vitro cultivation of human tumors: Establishment of cell lines derived from a series of solid tumors". Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 51 (5): 1417–23. doi:10.1093/jnci/51.5.1417. PMID 4357758.
  3. ^ a b Foster, KA; et al. (15 September 1998). "Characterization of the A549 cell line as a type II pulmonary epithelial cell model for drug metabolism". Experimental Cell Research. 243 (2): 359–366. doi:10.1006/excr.1998.4172. PMID 9743595.
  4. ^ ATCC.org. "A549 cell line: CCl-185 Product Description". Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Cooper, Jim (December 2012). "Cell line profile A549" (PDF). Public Health England. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ Franklin, Maryland (May 2016). "A549 – A Model For Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer". MiBioresearch. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  7. ^ Korsnes, Mónica Suárez; Korsnes, Reinert (2018). "Single-Cell Tracking of A549 Lung Cancer Cells Exposed to a Marine Toxin Reveals Correlations in Pedigree Tree Profiles". Frontiers in Oncology. 8: 260. doi:10.3389/fonc.2018.00260. ISSN 2234-943X. PMC 6039982. PMID 30023341.
  8. ^ Korsnes, Mónica Suárez; Korsnes, Reinert (2023-08-09). "Initial refinement of data from video-based single-cell tracking". Cancer Innovation. 2 (5): 416–432. doi:10.1002/cai2.88. hdl:11250/3099896. ISSN 2770-9183. PMC 10686135. PMID 38090384.
  9. ^ Andrei, Luca; Kasas, Sandor; Ochoa Garrido, Ignacio; Stanković, Tijana; Suárez Korsnes, Mónica; Vaclavikova, Radka; Assaraf, Yehuda G.; Pešić, Milica (2020-01-01). "Advanced technological tools to study multidrug resistance in cancer" (PDF). Drug Resistance Updates. 48: 100658. doi:10.1016/j.drup.2019.100658. ISSN 1368-7646. PMID 31678863.
  10. ^ Thomas, LH; Friedland, JS; Sharland, M; Becker, S (1998). "Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Induced RANTES Production from Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells Is Dependent on Nuclear Factor-κB Nuclear Binding and Is Inhibited by Adenovirus-Mediated Expression of Inhibitor of κBα". Journal of Immunology. 161 (2): 1007–16. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.161.2.1007. PMID 9670982. S2CID 83679578.
  11. ^ Lin, Yuanguang; Zhang, Ming; Barnes, Peter F. (1998). "Chemokine production by a human alveolar epithelial cell line in response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis". Infection and Immunity. 66 (3): 1121–6. doi:10.1128/IAI.66.3.1121-1126.1998. PMC 108024. PMID 9488404.

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