In cell culture, adherent cells are called as such due to their nature of adhering to surfaces in order to be cultured or grown in vitro, or in other words are anchorage dependent cells. These are cells which are in nature immobile such as cells derived from kidney tissues which in their normal environment is fixed and attached to connective tissues
In culturing adherent cells, this is usually done by providing a tissue culture plastic or microcarrier to provide the anchorage dependent cells an adhesion surface where the cell can attach and grow. These plastic and/or microcarrier may also be coated with collagen or laminin to promote adhesion properties and to provide cues needed for growth and differentiation of cells. Media is then fed to the cells which contains the nutrients and resources required by the cells to grow. This media however will eventually be saturated and must be replaced regularly.
Adherent cell culture has many functions, from cytology to research applications and since most primary cells are adherent cells, this type of cell culture will be appropriate for most cell types. The downside however is that the growth is limited by the area or surface where the cells can adhere which in turn may limit productivity or product yields. The conventional method of increasing the surface for adherent cell culture was to use a larger roller bottle, which is both costly and inconvenient due to large footprint
This main concern of adherent cell culturing has led to innovation of how to provide a larger culture surface without increasing the size of the vessel.