Morphological features of neuroblastoma cells grown in culture in the presence of dimethylsulfoxode (DMSO) were studied. Morphological differentiation, expressed as the appearance of long axon-like processes (neurites), an increase in size of the cells, and inhibition of cell division, was observed in neuroblastoma cells of line C 1300, subline N-18-TG2A1, incubated in medium containing 1% DMSO. In the early stages of culture in normal growth medium the cells possess primary features of morphological differentiation. Quantitative criteria for the development of these features depending on duration of culture in modified medium were worked out. An increase in the total length of the neurites of cells differentiating under the influence of DMSO is a linear function of time. The rate of growth of the neurites is 20.0±3.0 μ/h. The area of cross-section of the soma of the differentiated cells is 6-7 times greater than the corresponding parameter in the control. An increase in the DMSO concentration in the culture medium (1.5 and 2.0%) does not induce rapid growth of the neurites or an increase in size of the cell soma, but it does block mitosis. Characteristics of morphological differentiation of neuroblastoma cells are compared with probable functional changes in these cells.
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